Updated at 11:50,16-10-2017

Lukashenka: Belarus, Russia should keep together

Naviny.by

Belarus and Russia should "keep together and be as much strong as never before," Alyaksandr Lukashenka told a large group of Russian journalists in Minsk on Friday.

The journalists had arrived in Belarus on a visit organized by the Belarusian government.

The Belarusian leader said that the world was "shaken" by multiple internecine disputes and blamed them on a "strategy of managed chaos that inflicts harm on many countries, including in our region." "We all are well aware of who pits countries against each other," he said.

Belarus and Russia should not hesitate to "defend their interests," he said.

Mr. Lukashenka accused Russian federal channels of giving a biased coverage of the situation in Belarus. "At best they hush up the existence of such a brotherly country as Belarus and at worst you know [what they do]," he said.

Mr. Lukashenka welcomed Russian reporters' tours to Belarus as a useful practice that helped the two nations cement their ties. "Every time you discover a new side to Belarus. Russians will and should never feel like strangers here," he said.

Belarus has observed all of its obligations under economic and military cooperation agreements with Russia, and the two countries have provided a joint response to the "growing activity of our enemies at our borders," he noted.

Minsk has taken an all-out effort to prevent banned Western food from entering Russia, and also has boosted exports to Russia to prevent food shortages in provinces such as the Kaliningrad exclave, according to Mr. Lukashenka.

"We are acting in the spirit of relations between allies, trying to supply all of you with quality Belarusian foodstuffs and farm produce to the best of our capabilities that are far from being unlimited. There is high demand for them in Russia," he said.