Meeting with Governor of Russia’s Kaliningrad Oblast Anton Alikhanov

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No matter how hard they try to divide Belarus and Kaliningrad Oblast with artificial barriers, they will fail, Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko said as he met with Governor of Russia’s Kaliningrad Oblast Anton Alikhanov in Minsk on 5 June.

The head of state warmly welcomed the delegation of the region as “the people closest to us”, the Belarusians. He noted that many representatives of the Belarusian government had been invited to participate in the meeting, which showed the significance of the visit and the great interest of Belarus in the development of cooperation. “Half of the government is present here today. It attests to how close you are to us and how interested we are in developing cooperation between Belarus and the Russian region that has always been close to us,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

According to the President, it is an important fact that Anton Alikhanov is visiting Belarus for the third time. “I think that despite the fact that it is your third visit, there is a lot to see in order to determine and plan steps to build up our relations further,” the Belarusian leader said.

The head of state stressed that Belarus and Kaliningrad Oblast had long standing, even ancient relations in all the areas including economy, transit, culture, science, education and family ties. “I am confident that this visit will be another milestone in consolidating our achievements in all the areas I have just mentioned and further expanding of long-term cooperation,” the Belarusian leader said.

“I am sure you will agree with me that the unprecedented attempt made by the West in 2022 to limit our communication with you, the free movement of goods by rail and road transport both from Russia and Belarus - this attempt was doomed to failure. No matter how hard they try to divide us with artificial barriers, it will not work.” the President said.

Moreover, it is dangerous for the party that puts forward such initiatives, Aleksandr Lukashenko believes. Because in this way an economic war (and not only economic) is unleashed, which hot heads in the West have been trying to declare to Belarus and Russia not for the first time. “Let them not feel offended later then. We do not threaten anyone. We just protect our interests - those of Belarus and Russia. It is quite difficult but somehow we still manage to tolerate all these somersaults. But it simply cannot go on and on. Therefore, the authorities of the Baltic States, and probably of Poland, should understand it very well,” the President said.

According to him, Belarus and Kaliningrad Oblast are overcoming all the difficulties, including thanks to the accumulated potential in the industrial sector, industrial cooperation, agriculture and the humanitarian sector. “We can make greater progress,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said. “We have plenty of opportunities. We are close to $500 million in trade. This is not a bad figure. We can do more, however.”

As part of new infrastructure projects Belarusian companies are ready to participate in the procurement orders for trucks, agricultural, road, municipal and construction machinery, the President said. “We can offer high-tech machines and components,” he continued. “In short, we are open for you to explore our possibilities and suggest further ways of cooperation.”

For example, there is potential to supply Belarusian public transport, attract Belarusian builders to construct new facilities in the Russian region. “Our builders know Kaliningrad Oblast well. They have worked and continue working at the facilities. If you are happy with their performance, we are ready to continue our cooperation,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

Speaking about cooperation in agriculture, the President recalled the time when he had a chance to fly over Kaliningrad Oblast and get a good look at it from a low altitude. “As a man from the countryside, I discovered that in terms of agriculture it is simply a Klondike where there is a lot of work,” he said.

Belarus is ready to increase the supply of food products, which have already proven their worth in the Russian market and are known under the brand Zroblena v Belarusi [Made in Belarus]. “Recently, however, we have faced with numerous attempt to counterfeit this brand. This means we will have to work with this issue as well,” the head of state said. He also outlined the opportunities of the country in what concerns agro- and ecotourism: “You are always welcome in Belarus.”

“We are open for cooperation with Russian regions, especially with Kaliningrad Oblast. Therefore, please suggest any ideas we are capable of fulfilling. We are ready to work together. I promise you that everything we agree on will be accomplished on time or even ahead of schedule,” Aleksandr Lukashenko concluded.