14 Sep 2020 18:44

Russia, Belarus must take measures to get trade back to pre-crisis level - Putin

SOCHI. Sept 14 (Interfax) - Russian President Vladimir Putin said Russia and Belarus needed to take measures to get trade back to pre-crisis levels.

"As for our economic relations, Russia remains the biggest investor in the Belarusian economy," he said at a meeting with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko.

"The nuclear power plant project alone is worth $10 billion," he said.

Russia accounts for more than 50% of Belarusian trade and nearly 2,000 enterprises with Russian capital operate in Belarus. "We work very closely on a number of areas, a number of sectors," Putin said.

The coronavirus has affected trade and to this end "we must make an extra effort to get this back to the pre-crisis level and put the conditions in place to move forward," he said.

"I think existing problems should be solved and conditions put in place to make progress at the level of our governments, ministries, agencies and even individual enterprises," Putin said. "Yes, the Belarus has a new government but that does not stop us from working," he said, referring to Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin's recent visit to Minsk.

"Trade has fallen 21% or more, that's quite a drop. It has nothing to do with our work but with the global tendencies, with the coronavirus. But we'll fight the coronavirus together, and I'm sure we'll overcome the economic difficulties as well," Putin said.