MOSCOW, July 1. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday congratulated Belarusians with the upcoming Independence Day.
He extended the congratulations in a video address to the Forum of Russian and Belarusian Regions.
"It is also symbolic that the events of the forum are held on the eve of the Independence Day of Belarus, which is celebrated on July 3. On this day, Minsk was liberated from the Nazi invaders. Therefore, I would like to sincerely congratulate the Belarusian people on the upcoming state holiday," the president said.
Putin also noted that Russia and Belarus will always remember that during the Great Patriotic War the peoples of the countries "shoulder to shoulder defended freedom and independence, brought peace to all of Europe at the cost of huge sacrifices."
"And most importantly, Russia and Belarus not only preserve, but also increase the glorious traditions of strong friendship and mutual assistance," the president continued. "We were able to achieve a truly exemplary level of strategic partnership and alliance, and the Union State is an example of truly mutually beneficial and equal integration."
The Russian leader said that "unprecedented political and sanctions pressure from the so-called collective West is pushing us to speed up the unification processes."
"After all, acting together it’s easier to minimize the damage from illegal sanctions, it’s easier to start production of products that are in demand, develop new competencies and expand cooperation with friendly countries," Putin said.
The forum of Russian and Belarusian regions is taking place in Grodno from June 30-July 1.