- Title: Over 1,600 rally in Minsk against deeper Belarus-Russia integration
- Date: 20th December 2019
- Summary: (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTER, SAYING: "(This is) a rally against integration with Russia, that is - against the invasion of the country, quiet invasion. We do not want to be lying under Russia, we want to be a free country, an independent state. This is why we stand here." PROTESTERS LINED UP ALONG ROAD WITH POSTERS AND FLAGS
- Embargoed: 3rd January 2020 20:11
- Keywords: Belarus Russia Belarus-Russia integration protest rally
- Location: MINSK, BELARUS
- City: MINSK, BELARUS
- Country: Belarus
- Topics: Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA003BAS7U49
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:More than 1,600 protesters took to the streets in Minsk on Friday (December 20) to protest against deepening integration between Russia and Belarus, as the leaders of the two countries met in St. Petersburg.
People chanted 'independence' and 'no unions with imperial Russia'. No arrests were reported.
Russian President Vladimir Putin praised the development of relations between Russia and Belarus during a meeting with his Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko in Saint Petersburg.
During their meeting, Putin noted significant progress made as part of the Union State treaty between the two countries, which was signed in December 1999. He also said that much of the work envisaged in the agreement remained incomplete.
Russia and Belarus have been discussing deeper integration, or a 'union state', for around two decades, but have failed to agree on key points, including a united currency.
The leaders discussed 'prospects for deepening integration as part of a union state' in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi on Dec. 7.
Russia has helped Lukashenko over the past 25 years with loans and energy subsidies, but Moscow started to scale back this help last year, prompting Lukashenko to accuse Russia of trying to bully his much smaller country into a union.
(Production: Vasily Fedosenko, Anton Derbenev)
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
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