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Peace solution, strikes and 'Russian threat': remarks by Putin and Lukashenko

Belarus’ President Alexander Lukashenko and Russia's President Vladimir Putin Gavriil Grigorov/Russian Presidential Press and Information Office/TASS
Belarus’ President Alexander Lukashenko and Russia's President Vladimir Putin
© Gavriil Grigorov/Russian Presidential Press and Information Office/TASS

MOSCOW, April 12. /TASS/. Russia has never rejected a peace solution to the Ukrainian conflict, but views the Ukrainian-themed conference, to be held in Switzerland without Russia’s participation, as a ‘freak show,’ Russian President Vladimir Putin told his Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko during talks in Moscow.

The Belarusian leader, in turn, spoke about West’s growing military presence on his country’s borders and thanked Russia for its economic assistance.

TASS gathered key remarks made by the two leaders.

Peaceful solution to Ukrainian conflict

"We have never refused to resolve disputes peacefully. Moreover, this is exactly what we were inclined to do," the Russian president said, adding that these efforts led to major negotiations that culminated in Istanbul.

Moscow heeded calls that "Ukraine should not sign it [those agreements] ‘at a gunpoint’," and withdrew its troops from Kiev, but "then, under the pressure from the West, the Ukrainian side walked out of these agreements." "Immediately after we did this, our agreements were thrown into a trash bin," Putin added.

Ukraine has realized that it won’t defeat Russia on the battlefield, Putin said. "They refused to negotiate. And now they are in a rather difficult situation."

Putin said he would seek Lukashenko's mediation, should the need for new talks arise. The Belarusian leader replied that he supported Russia's stance on the issue.

Swiss conference on Ukraine

The conference in Switzerland "is some kind of a freak show now," Putin said. "We have not been invited. And they say that we have rejected it." "They believe that we don’t belong there. And at the same time, they say that it is impossible to resolve anything without us," the Russian president continued. "It would have been funny, if it were not so sad."

Lukashenko replied that in the absence of Russia, participants of the Ukrainian-themed conference in Switzerland can only agree on further escalation.

Strikes on energy facilities

Russia is repelling attacks on its energy facilities and has to retaliate. Moreover, its troops "did not carry out any strikes" during the winter due to humanitarian considerations.

"We did not want to leave social institutions, hospitals and so on without power supply. But after a series of strikes on our energy facilities, we were forced to respond," Putin stated.

Strikes on energy facilities in Ukraine are a part of the demilitarization process, because they directly affect the country’s defense industry, the Russian president continued. "First of all, we assume that this is how we affect the defense industry of Ukraine, and affect it directly," Putin said.

At the same time, Moscow is ready to negotiate for a peaceful solution to all issues. Lukashenko replied that Kiev is provoking Moscow into delivering such strikes.

Hopes for common sense

In response to Lukashenko’s remarks that Ukrainians will soon come to their senses, Putin replied: "Let them decide for themselves."

Situation on the border

Putin also announced a conversation "on security issues along western borders of both Russia and Belarus." Lukashenko replied that the situation is difficult, and Minsk is forced to "deploy its forces" amid growing Western military presence.

‘Russian threat’ to West

Claims that Russia may attack Western countries are nonsense, disseminated by governments "to explain and justify their expenditures on the war in Ukraine."

Lukashenko agreed that Russia and Belarus "have got enough own problems," so Minsk and Moscow have never discussed any plans to capture Europe.

Space exploration

Putin noted a major bilateral event - the return to the Earth of Marina Vasilevskaya, the first Belarusian woman to be launched into space.

"Also, a good event took place today. Our new rocket flew into space from a new cosmodrome. It was a heavy [rocket]. It was a yet another stage in the development of Russia’s space industry," the Russian leader added.

Economic relations

The two states’ economic relations "develop successfully," the Russian president said.

"Our growth in the first months of the current year was even faster than last year. There is greater diversification, increasing cooperation and complementarity - in general, everything is on the rise."

Lukashenko thanked Putin for helping to export Belarusian products via Russian ports. Minsk is already using the 80-billion-ruble loan, issued by Moscow for joint import substitution projects.