22 Aug 2018 11:26

Lukashenko heading to Sochi for talks with Putin

MINSK. Aug 22 (Interfax) - Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has left Belarus for Russia.

"The program of the visit includes talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi," the Belarusian state news agency BelTA reported.

Putin invited Lukashenko to visit Russia during a phone call in July.

Russian Ambassador to Belarus Alexander Surikov said earlier that foreign policy issues will be at the top of the agenda of the upcoming summit meeting.

"What did they need to discuss? Probably the EAEU [Eurasian Economic Union]," he told reporters.

The sides also need to talk about economic issues, Surikov said.

"I do not rule out that our president has invited Alexander Grigoryevich [Lukashenko] to spend his vacation [in Russia], maybe in Sochi or somewhere else. He [Lukashenko] will have a vacation, after all," Surikov said.

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has repeatedly reproached Russia for unfair competition and a failure to fulfill its obligations as part of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU).

"It's a difficult time for us now, as Russians are behaving in a barbaric manner towards us - I say this publicly. They are demanding something from us, as if we are their vassals, although they're unwilling to fulfill their obligations as part of the EAEU, to which they invited us. So they are creating an uncompetitive situation," the state news agency BelTA quoted Lukashenko as saying during his visit to Gomselmash in early August.

Russia accuses the United States and the West of creating "an uncompetitive advantage," Lukashenko said. "While they themselves have created the very same uncompetitive environment for us," he said.

"This is a subject for another conversation with the Russian president. But we must work in the environment in which we exist," Lukashenko said.