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West sought to strip Belarus of independence and Russia gave helping hand — Lukashenko

The West "will never be able to break our relations, they will only grow stronger," he stressed

MINSK, December 19. /TASS/. The West was seeking to deprive Belarus of its independence and sovereignty but Moscow extended a helping hand to it, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said on Monday after talks with his visiting Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin.

"If anyone tries to tear us apart, to drive a wedge between us, they will fail. It was not him (the Russian president - TASS), not Russia who attacked me along the perimeter in the 2020s. Russia extended a helping hand to us when we were pressed from there (the West - TASS). They wanted to deprive us of independence and sovereignty," Lukashenko said.

The West "will never be able to break our relations, they will only grow stronger," he stressed.

"Today, together with the [Russian] president and our colleague we have actually created a basis for a future leap forward. And we will make it," he pledged.

"There is not a single matter that cannot be settled," the Belarusian leader stated. "Russia has always been meeting us halfway and we are meeting its halfway."

"You know, we are co-aggressors, the worst and most toxic people on this planet. We are only arguing who is the worst. Vladimir Vladimirovich [Putin] says that it’s me. I begin to think that it’s him. So, we have decided that both," he added jokingly.

Belarus will be able to defend its sovereignty only with Russia’s help, Lukashenko said.

"Let us be frank, can we defend our independence and sovereignty by ourselves, without Russia? No, we cannot. And he (Putin - TASS) did not refuse to help us when we needed it. <…> He reached out to help as a close friend of Belarus," he said.