Lukashenko and Putin are meeting today in Sochi amid a backlash on the RyanAir aircraft hijacking by the Belarussian regime, which has led to a series of measures leading to the international isolation of Minsk. The Air Force (ICAO) is conducting research on Belarusian move.
Alexander Lukashenko will be received at the Russian president’s summer residence to formally discuss “integration” between the two former Soviet republics and “common, mainly economic, plans,”, as reported by the Kremlin website.
However, the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, warned the West to “stop demonizing those it does not like,” while Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peshkov endorsed the Belarussian regime’s claims that RyanAir flight diversion was completely legitimate due to bomb threat.
Minsk is heavily financially dependent on Russia, as much of its income is due to its geographical location as a transit zone between Russia and the European Union.
Taking advantage of this geographical location, Lukashenko has been manoeuvring for decades between east and west, sometimes turning to Moscow and sometimes cultivating relations with the European Union and the United States.
In the current crisis, Russia rushes to the aid of Belarus, but it is not clear that their interests are converging.
Vladimir Putin will probably not be indifferent to the threats of Brussels to impose new sanctions against Minsk, which may affect the passage of Russian gas through Belarus.