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Belarus not turning away from Russia, President Lukashenko says

Belarus and the Nizhny Novgorod region aim to increase turnover to 1 billion dollars. On April 20, Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko met with the governor of that Russian region Valery Shantsev.

Cooperation of Belarus with Russian regions is the basis of relations between the countries as a whole. This was underlined during the recent talks between the leaders of Belarus and Russia in St. Petersburg.

April 20 Alexander Lukashenko commented on the materials of some Russian media about the relations between Belarus and Russia.

Alexander Lukashenko, President of Belarus:
I want to tell you: Belarus has never kneeled to anyone. I just want to tell some 'journalists' from written and TV media that Belarusian products (tractors, cars, machinery and entire chemical industry) contain from 30% to 90% of components and raw materials from Russia. When we were deciding what to do, when we held a referendum on the Union of Belarus and Russia, we proceeded from the fact that we do not need to break the established economic ties. And we did not. We started to strengthen and modernize economy. Thus, we retained finished production, like it was in the Soviet Union. Today more than 10 million people work at Russian enterprises that manufacture components, materials, etc.

Helping with the finished production stage, preserving the relevant enterprises in Belarus, we are helping at least 10 million (or even 15 million) people who work in Russia.

And, then, you must understand that if the Russian ambassador lends us we pay him, you know, an interest of 6%. 4.5-6% per annum for these loans, moreover, we always pay them back properly. Americans pay you half a percent. All countries always get some loans from international organizations or from some states. I must say that Russia does not occupy first place in this respect. In first place is the Chinese People's Republic. It provided us with a credit line of approximately $15 billion.

Someone may tell you that Belarus is turning somewhere, to the West, or somewhere else. Look, we understand our place. No one needs us in the West.

Living in the center of Europe we are forced to pursue such a policy: to preserve the country and security, its sovereignty, its independence and stability, so that people, Russians and citizens of Nizhny Novgorod, live in normal conditions. I hope Nizhny Novgorod residents coming here don't complain. For this to be possible we need to work hard.

As regards cooperation with the Nizhny Novgorod region, now in the list of promising cooperation areas are automotive supplies, road construction, passenger and agricultural machinery. Belarusian organizations may take part in the implementation of housing construction programs in that Russian region, too.

Valery Shantsev, Governor of the Nizhny Novgorod region (Russia):
Virtually all sectors work together. Somewhere finishing production takes place on the Belarusian side, some in Russia, so there is an exchange of components. All this gives us the opportunity to grow as a whole. And we note that, despite the fall of the trade between Belarus and Russia, our trade turnover (between Belarus and Nizhny Novgorod region) grew by 7% in 2016.

In the morning in Minsk, the delegation of the Russian region led by governor Valery Shantsev participated in the ceremony at the Victory Square. The delegation laid wreaths and flowers to the monument and eternal flame in the center of the Belarusian capital. In memory of those killed during the Great Patriotic War (1941-1945), the guests observed a minute of silence.

Belarus not turning away from Russia, President Lukashenko says