11 May 2018 17:18

Putin, Lukashenko to meet in Sochi on Monday

MOSCOW. May 11 (Interfax) - Russian President Vladimir Putin and Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko will meet in Sochi on Monday to discuss prospects of the development of trade and economic ties between the two countries, Kremlin aide Yury Ushakov said.

"On May 14, Vladimir Putin will hold negotiations with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko on the sidelines of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council's meeting in Sochi. During the meeting, the two plan to touch upon key aspects of the bilateral agenda, primarily prospects for continued development of trade and economic ties," Ushakov told journalists on Friday.

Russia is Belarus's primary economic partner and accounted for 51.1% in Belarus's foreign trade in 2017, Ushakov said. Bilateral trade between the two countries grew 23.5% to $32.42 billion last year, he said.

Russia is also leading in terms of capital investments in the Belarusian economy, which amounted to $3.9 billion as of the end of 2017, he said.

The countries are also cooperating in the energy sector, Ushakov said. The launch of power unit 1 of the Belarusian Nuclear Power Plant in the Grodno region, being built by Rosatom, is scheduled for 2019.

"Gazprom owns the [575.5-kilometer-long] Belarusian section of the Yamal-Europe gas pipeline. In the period before 2020, the company plans to invest $2 billion-$2.5 billion in developing the Belarusian gas transport system and $1.1 billion in increasing the capacity of the underground gas storage facilities," Ushakov said.