/ News

Lukashenko: No plans to curtail support programs for Chernobyl-hit regions in Belarus

CHECHERSK ( BelTA) – We are not planning to reduce the state support to residents of the areas affected by the Chernobyl accident, Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko said as he talked to residents of Chechersk District on 29 April, BelTA has learned.

One of the questions was about benefits and payments to residents of the affected areas. People asked whether the government is planning to curtail these programs in connection with the optimization of budget expenditures due to the sanctions.

Aleksandr Lukashenko noted that state budget expenditures are optimized on an ongoing basis: "We optimize budget expenditures regularly, every year. This is not connected to the current situation.”

Regarding the sanctions, the president noted that they did make things more difficult. At them same time they opened up new opportunities prompting to look for ways out. "A blessing in disguise. These are opportunities. Everything we produce is in demand in our major markets – in Russia, China and other countries," the Belarusian leader stated.

"We are not going to curtail these programs," Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

"We are optimizing, making sure that the money is spent where needed. Today, the governor and I talked about only one thing: not about reducing funding, but about helping Gomel Oblast to ensure production growth,” the president said. He is convinced that instead of small one-time payments to certain categories of people, it is better to concentrate funds and implement an important and necessary project, for example, to build a water deironing station.

At the same time, Aleksandr Lukashenko noted that he is not a supporter of benefits for Chernobyl victims. He also disapproved the use of the phrase "Chernobyl victims" as it carries, in his opinion, a negative connotation.

"The point is not about benefits, but about the opportunity to work and earn well," the Belarusian leader said.

The head of state stressed that he has great respect for those who at one time decided to stay in the affected regions and continued to develop them. He said that the country has passed a great way to mitigate the impact of the Chernobyl accident.

"My dream is that you live 10–15 years longer than the national average," he said. “This will make me happy. This will be the best confirmation that we have defeated Chernobyl."