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Putin to meet with Belarusian President Lukashenko in Sochi

This will be the seventh meeting between the leaders of the two countries this year

MOSCOW, September 15. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet with his Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko in Sochi on Friday.

As Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has said, Belarus is Russia’s closest ally, and the two leaders communicate regularly. "The two dear friends regularly synchronize their watches and hold exchanges," Peskov added.

This will be the seventh meeting between Putin and Lukashenko this year. The two met on Russian soil on the previous six occasions, with their latest one-on-one meeting being held in late July. The leaders of Russia and Belarus also call each other, when necessary. They last held a telephone conversation on August 30, when Putin congratulated Lukashenko on his birthday over the phone.

Bilateral contacts

The previous talks of Putin and Lukashenko took place in Russia’s second largest city of St. Petersburg on July 23. Apart from economic cooperation, the leaders also touched upon many other issues, including Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine and NATO’s intensified activities in Poland.

Putin has repeatedly pointed to the special nature of relations between Moscow and Minsk. In turn, the president of Belarus believes that frequent meetings are necessary in order to expedite the implementation of the 28 programs carried out as part of the Union State of Russia and Belarus. They are aimed at unifying legislation in various sectors of economy, creating common financial and energy markets and logistical space.

At the end of August, the Belarusian government said that Minsk was coordinating with Moscow 12 additional import-substituting industrial projects which may be financed by a Russian loan. Belarusian Deputy Prime Minister Petr Parkhomchik said that currently, 17 investment projects to the tune of 127 bln Russian rubles (over $1.3 bln) within the Union State are being implemented while 12 more projects worth 37 bln rubles (more than $385 mln) are at the coordination stage.