Ministers from Belarus and Russia meet to discuss closer union ahead of deadline

The Council of Ministers of the Union State of Russia and Belarus will meet in Moscow on November 19 to

russia belarus union talks

Photo: Natalya Fedosenko/TASS

The Council of Ministers of the Union State of Russia and Belarus will meet in Moscow on November 19 to discuss economic and military integration between the two nations.

A roadmap to closer integration is to be presented to Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Belarusian counterpart, Alexander Lukashenko, on December 1. However, Lukashenko threatened to pull out of the deal after Russia halted its energy loan and subsidy program to Belarus due to its negative impact on the Russian economy.

Although Moscow is Minsk’s number one trading partner, Belarus has recently increased trade with the EU and the US. Furthermore, Washington and Minsk agreed to exchange ambassadors for the first time in 11 years after the US and EU eased various sanctions on the country.

It is likely that Russia will compromise to achieve a full integration roadmap to be signed in December to counter Belarus’s growing ties with the West. A deal could also allow Putin to run for a third presidential term in 2024. Though this is barred under the current constitution, it could happen under a loophole if Putin runs as the leader of a new Belarusian and Russian state.

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