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Putin, Lukashenko to hold talks in Minsk

The trip to Belarus became the second foreign visit for Vladimir Putin after he was inaugurated as Russia's president for a new term on May 7

MOSCOW, May 24. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin, who arrived in Minsk at around midnight on Thursday, will continue his conversation with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko on Friday.

The trip to Belarus became Putin's second foreign visit after he was inaugurated as Russia's president for a new term on May 7. The president made his first state visit to China, while the third will be to Uzbekistan on May 26-27.

In an earlier statement, the Kremlin said the two leaders would address various aspects of integration within the framework of the Union State of Russia and Belarus, further development of Russian-Belarusian relations of strategic partnership and key issues on the international agenda. The Belarusian leader, who greeted his Russian counterpart at Minsk Airport, said security will be the first topic to be raised. Subsequent extended talks on Friday afternoon will focus on economic issues, he added.

Putin and Lukashenko last met in Moscow on May 9, and before that - on April 12. The leaders of Russia and Belarus regularly contact each other, sometimes as often as once in a few weeks.

During their meeting in Moscow on April 12, they participated in events marking Cosmonautics Day and met with cosmonauts, including Marina Vasilevskaya, the first woman in space in the history of modern Belarus. After that, Lukashenko expressed his readiness to continue joint crewed spaceflights.

Subsequently, the president of Belarus visited the Russian capital on May 8 to attend the Eurasian Economic Union summit and participate in Victory Day Parade on May 9. He held a conversation with Putin to discuss, among other things, the situation around Ukraine and his country’s participation in phase two of a military exercise to practice the use of non-strategic nuclear weapons.