Ukraine-Russia war news: Vladimir Putin lashes out at ‘disgusting’ G7 after PMs and leaders mock shirtless despot

Putin says Western pressure is accelerating Belarus’ integration with Russia

President Vladimir Putin said on Friday that political pressure from the West is accelerating Belarus’ integration with neighboring Russia, which has been ongoing for more than two decades.

“Unprecedented political and social pressure from the so-called collective West is urging us to accelerate the unification process: to minimize the damage caused by the illegal sanctions together, to make the output of required products easier to control, to develop new skills in order to work together with friendly countries expand,” Putin said at a bilateral forum.

The two Slavic neighbors signed a union treaty in 1997 that would restore some of the close ties severed by the collapse of the Soviet Union.

But autocratic President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko’s enthusiasm for closer political integration has waxed and waned, as has Belarus’ economic dependence on its far larger and wealthier cousin.

Lukashenko became more committed to Moscow in late 2020 when Putin lent political and financial support as he crushed a wave of anti-government protests sparked by a presidential election the opposition said was rigged.

In February, Lukashenko allowed Moscow to use Belarus as a launch pad for some of the Russian tank columns invading Belarus’ southern neighbor Ukraine.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said last week the two countries urgently need to take joint action to improve their defense capabilities and the combat readiness of their troops. Ukraine-Russia war news: Vladimir Putin lashes out at ‘disgusting’ G7 after PMs and leaders mock shirtless despot


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