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Russian, Belarusian presidents address security issues at meeting in Minsk

Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived Thursday in Belarus for a two-day visit as part of several foreign tours to kick off his fifth term in office, underscoring close ties with a neighboring ally.

Agencies and A News WORLD
Published May 24,2024
Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) and Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko shake hands during a meeting in Minsk, Belarus, late 23 May 2024. (EPA Photo)

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Friday that during his visit to Belarus, he intends to discuss security issues with his Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko, including nuclear exercises between the two countries that are currently underway.

Putin arrived in the Belarusian capital Minsk late Thursday, where Lukashenko welcomed him at one of the airports in the city.

"I think that, as usual, we will bring security issues to the fore, and tomorrow we will discuss economic issues together with our colleagues from the governments," Lukashenko said, greeting Putin.

The Belarusian president noted that he also has "a very interesting proposal," involving the Caucasus region, which he discussed "very seriously" during a visit to Azerbaijan.

For his part, Putin said that when he visited China on May 16-17, Chinese President Xi Jinping "remembered" Lukashenko with "a kind word."

"I had a big meeting with members of the government, and we talked about my visit to you ... We will discuss all this today and tomorrow, including security issues, which you constantly pay great attention to. ... Of course, we will also talk about the exercises-about the second phase of the exercises," he said.

Russia on Tuesday announced the beginning of military exercises aimed at training the use of nuclear weapons. Belarus announced the same kind of drill on May 8. Neither Moscow nor Minsk specified the date of the end of the exercises.