Updated at 14:13,22-06-2018

Kobyakov formally approved as Belarusian prime minister

RFE/RL with reporting by Interfax

The Belarusian parliament has approved Andrey Kobyakov as the country's next prime minister after his formal introduction to the legislature on January 15 by President Alyaksandr Lukashenka.

The move follows Kobyakov’s December 29 appointment as interim prime minister amid a cabinet shakeup.

Lukashenka told lawmakers on January 15 that Kobyakov’s main task is to bolster the Belarusian economy.

Lukashenka blamed his country's economic woes on Western sanctions against Russia for its role in the Ukraine crisis, Russia's countersanctions against the West, the devaluation of the Russian ruble, the fall of world oil prices, and the war in eastern Ukraine.

Kobyakov should present the government's action plan to parliament within two months.

Kobyakov was the head of Lukashenka's presidential administration for the last two years and was responsible for economic issues for 10 years as a deputy prime minister.