Lukashenka: Belarus and Russia will always be together

Mr. Lukashenka described as symbolic the Russian leader\'s stay in Minsk during the celebration of the 70th anniversary of the city\'s liberation from the Nazi invaders

Belarus and Russia will always stay together, Alyaksandr Lukashenka said at a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Minsk on July 2.

Mr. Lukashenka described as symbolic the Russian leader's stay in Minsk during the celebration of the 70th anniversary of the city's liberation from the Nazi invaders. "That symbolizes our unity and is evidence that we will always stay together just like we did in those times," the government's news agency BelTA quoted him as saying. He stressed that Belarus appreciated Mr. Putin's visit to Minsk.

Mr. Lukashenka promised that Belarus would always be a military ally of Russia. "Don’t worry, if necessary we will stand back to back and will defend ourselves, we will fight the way we fought together once," he said.

He also expressed gratitude to Moscow for providing economic aid to Belarus. "We remember that and, believe me, both Russia and Belarus are gradually getting out of the world crisis. We will get on to our feet and I'm certain will be even stronger economically," he said.

Mr. Putin, for his part, greeted the Belarusian people on the liberation anniversary. "Today we have already remembered the incredible sacrifices that the Belarusian people made for the sake of victory, how much was made after the Great Patriotic War for rebuilding the republic and such a bright and beautiful city as Minsk," he was quoted as saying.

The Russian president expressed certainty that closer economic ties between the two countries would bear fruit and described the coming launch of the Eurasian Economic Union as "another step forward in combining our countries' efforts."