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Interregional ties viewed as increasingly important factor in Belarus-Russia cooperation

MINSK (BelTA) – Interregional ties are growing increasingly important for the economic cooperation between Belarus and Russia, Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko said as he met with Governor of Russia's Kostroma Oblast Sergei Sitnikov, BelTA has learned.

“Direct ties with Russian regions are becoming an increasingly important factor in strengthening the bilateral economic cooperation between our countries. We cannot do without the economy because it is the foundation of any relationship. They reproach me for looking for benefit. But if if you did not seek benefit, perhaps, you would not have come here. Yes, we have always been friends and brothers, but in order to have brotherly relations forever, we need the economy as the basis,” Alexander Lukashenko said.

The head of state stressed that without close interregional cooperation, Belarus and Russia would never have had such close, allied relations. “Ties with the regions have kept us close together. You should know that you, the Russians, are our closest brothers. Thank you for having saved this union,” the president noted.

Alexander Lukashenko added that Kostroma Oblast is a longstanding, promising and reliable partner of Belarus. “You are a representative of true Russia. Kostroma Oblast is the heart of Russia. We have similar and mutually complementary economies,” the Belarusian leader said.

The head of state is confident that public diplomacy will help strengthen cooperation between the Russian region and Belarus.

For his part, Sergei Sitnikov expressed confidence that Belarus and Russia will always be together. The two countries are bound by the common history and close relations between the two nations. “We, northern Russians, are warmhearted people and have the greatest respect for these relations,” he said.