Putin and Lukashenko to meet in Sochi

Putin and Lukashenko to meet in Sochi
Photo: Alexei Nikolskyi/Reuters
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko will meet today in Sochi – Photo: Alexei Nikolskyi/Reuters

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko will meet today in Sochi.

The meeting coincides with a summit for the Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) security alliance. Lukashenko has recently criticized CSTO members, including Armenia and Kazakhstan, saying that sanctions on Russia and Belarus could have been avoided had the organization presented a more unified front. Western sanctions on Belarus have banned 70% of its exports to the EU. 

While Minsk has not been directly involved in the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Moscow has used Belarusian territory to gain further access to Ukraine. Furthermore, Minsk has changed its constitution to allow Russian nuclear weapons on Belarusian soil.

Much of today’s meeting is set to concern import substitution, particularly for semiconductors and other innovative goods, as the two countries fear falling behind in industrial innovation. However, expect Lukashenko to also push for a greater role in the Russia-Ukraine negotiations, given recent statements on his desire for peace. In the medium term, expect both Russia and Belarus to push the CSTO to take more united policy stances against the West, especially concerning retaliation for sanctions and other punitive measures.

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