Lukashenko on conflict with Moscow: Russia fears, Belarus will go West
Belarus President, Alexander Lukashenko, has admitted recently increased tension in Russia-Belarus relations, explaining it by Moscow’s alleged fear that the country would move West. Lukashenko stated about it at the meeting with public figures and representatives of the local and foreign mass media, held in the extended format under the title ‘Big Conversation with the President’, on February 3.
“There has been tension in the bilateral relations, because Russia has been showing apprehension that Belarus may go West,” Belarus President stated. At the same time, President Lukashnko pointed out that country’s advancement to the West was ‘a coordinated position, that my friend, Putin, pushed me for.’
Lukashenko touched upon Moscow-Minsk disputes with regard to the oil and gas prices, saying that his country would be facing hardship without the Russian oil, ‘but freedom, independence- it’s very viable and it can’t be measured by any money, any figures’ and ‘independence, integrity, our historical past – all that is more valuable than the oil.’
Lukashenko also made it clear that this very dispute over energy carrier prices was the reason, the Russian FSB (Federal Security Service) decided on February 1 to establish a security zone on the border with Belarus. Belarus and Russia are the members of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) and the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), there is a regime of free movement of people and goods between the two countries.
Lukashenko also said, there was no need for setting up Russian military air base in Belarus.