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Putin hopes constitutional reform will help settle Belarus issue

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Putin hopes constitutional reform will help settle Belarus issue

Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) shakes hands with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko during their meeting in Sochi, Russia, on Sept 14, 2020. [Photo/Agencies] MOSCOWRussian President Vladimir Putin said Monday that he hopes a constitutional reform planned by his Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko will help settle the ongoing crisis in Belarus.

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“I am sure that, bearing in mind your experience in politics, work in this area will be organized at the highest level and this will create new frontiers in the development of your country’s political system,” Putin said at a meeting with Lukashenko in Russia‘s Sochi

He reiterated Moscow‘s position that Belarusians themselves, in a calm mode and in dialogue with each other, come to understand this situation and reach a common decision, without any prompts and pressure from outside

He added that Russia views Belarus as its closest ally and will fulfill all the obligations it has assumed in relation to the neighboring country

Putin recalled that Russia and Belarus have very deep and stable cooperation in various areas, with Russia being the biggest investor in the Belarusian economy

He said that the two countries need to make additional efforts to not only restore the trade and economic relations damaged by the COVID-19 pandemic, but also create conditions for moving them forward

For this, Russia will provide Belarus with a state loan of 1.5 billion US dollars, Putin said

Moscow and Minsk should also continue cooperation in the military and defense sphere, Putin added

At the meeting, Lukashenko said that Russia and Belarus must keep conducting joint military drills and plan them for years to come

To this, Putin responded that the two countries conducted joint military activities almost every month and they will continue in accordance with joint agreements