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Vladimir Putin, the president of Russia, has said that Western sanctions are simply causing his nation and Belarus, a close ally, to “speed up integration.”

Putin claimed that several areas of Russian integration with Belarus will occur, “minimizing the damage” caused by the sanctions.

Putin said in a video message to attendees of a yearly Russia-Belarus summit on Friday that “Russia and Belarus have continued to strengthen in their cooperation in the political, trade, economic, cultural, and humanitarian domains.”

“The so-called collective West is pressuring us to advance integration at an unprecedented rate through sanctions.

Together, Putin added, “it is easier to set up the production of desired items, create new capabilities, and expand cooperation with friendly countries. It is also easier to reduce the harm from the illegitimate sanctions.”

Belarus is a steadfast Russian ally that assisted Moscow in invading Ukraine in February by allowing some Russian troops to cross the Ukrainian-Belarusian border.

According to Putin, several collaborative programs between the two countries have already been formed, and more are planned for the upcoming years. Innovation in the fields of technology and industry, finance, and transportation are all areas of cooperation.

According to Putin, the collaborative initiatives will “create a reliable foundation for a financial market and transit base,” with the goal of establishing “equivalent economic circumstances for our countries.”

His message was delivered earlier this year when Belarus and Russia celebrated 30 years of diplomatic ties and only a few days before Belarus marks its independence from Nazi Germany on July 3.

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