11 Jan 2019 13:44

Russia doesn't put policy of broader strategic interaction with Belarus in question - Zakharova

MOSCOW. Jan 11 (Interfax) - The strategic policy of strengthening relations with Belarus is not in question, according to Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova.

"Belarus is our reliable ally and partner. There is no doubt about the policy of expanding strategic interaction with Minsk, which is declared, for instance, in the foreign policy concept of our country. We believe there is still a lot to be done within the framework of the Union State to raise the effectiveness of this integration format," Zakharova said at a press briefing on Friday, adding that Russia and Belarus had created a working group to that end.

A journalist had asked Zakharova to comment on the opinion of Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko that Russia might lose "its only ally to the west."

"One should not think that this [the lack of compensation from Moscow for the tax maneuver] is catastrophic. If the Russian leadership chooses this path and the loss of its only ally to the west, that's their choice. We cannot force them to act differently," Lukashenko said at a government meeting in Minsk.