Alexander Lukashenko and Vladimir Putin met in St. Petersburg on April 3. The heads of state started the conversation with the tragedy in the St. Petersburg metro. The President of Belarus expressed his condolences and disappointment that their dialogue was overshadowed by these sad events.
Alexander Lukashenko, Belarus President:
Vladimir Vladimirovich, thank you. You know my attitude to your native city St. Petersburg. It's really a great pleasure to come here. It is a pity, of course, that it happened at this moment. I always wish this ended, but we in Minsk also faced similar problems. God forbid it happens again. I also want to express my condolences to the relatives, the St. Petersburg residents, who are sensitive to such things, like our people - Slavs - in general.
But I've just told you that no one will let us live peacefully, unfortunately. Therefore, we must be ready for anything. There are a lot of challenges in the world. We do not live in an isolated world. We understand that since it's not the first year we've been working in these positions. The main theme of our conversation today is security of our Motherland, I think I can put it like that.
And we'll talk a lot about how to live in this world, how to defend the interests of our people. There will always be some problems in the relations. But, you know, against the background of these developments, our problems simply fade; we are able to solve these problems quickly and efficiently. I only would like the situation to be quiet and peaceful; I would like us to continue to ensure our security, the security of our peoples.
Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Federation:
Unfortunately, we have to start our meeting with this tragic event. The reasons are not yet clear so it's too early to say. The investigation will show.
As for our meeting, I would like to note that this year we have another serious event - we are celebrating the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the diplomatic relations. And we have the opportunity today to talk about what has been done over these years in terms of the expansion of bilateral cooperation, what needs to be done. Where do we still have outstanding issues?
I am very glad to see you. I want to thank you for what accepting the invitation to come to St. Petersburg to discuss all of these issues.
The meeting of the two presidents continue with discussions on the bilateral Belarusian-Russian relations. This includes trade and economic cooperation and the existing problems in it as well as interaction in integration associations.