Putin: Gas Route to Europe through Belarus Becoming More Important

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said the importance of the route of Russian gas exports to Europe via Belarus is growing. He was speaking at a meeting of the Supreme State Council of the Union State of Russia and Belarus

“Given the technical condition of other routes for the export of Russian hydrocarbons, in particular, gas, to Europe and this condition is, frankly speaking, unsatisfactory, the Belarusian route becomes more important,” Putin said, according to Izvestya.

The Russian president added he believes that the trade between Russia and Belarus may grow to $50 billion a year.

“Last year, trade turnover increased by almost a quarter – up 23.5% and reached $32.4 bln. In January-April of this year, it added another 18.5%,” the head of the Russian state said at a meeting of the Supreme State Council of the Union State of Russia and Belarus.

“If such positive dynamics remains, we are able to bring mutual trade to the level of $50 billion,” he said.

According to Putin, “the volume of accumulated Russian capital investments in the Belarusian economy exceeds $3.9 billion,” while “Belarusian companies invested about $620 million in Russia.”

The head of the Russian state named examples of promising joint projects, in particular, the construction of a plant for the production of technical carbon in Belarus, the construction of a factory for the production of construction materials and a grain processing plant. Putin noted that the cost of these projects is about $400mn.

Russia and Belarus have had close relations since the breakup of the Soviet Union. The two countries have been members of a supranational union from 1996, maintaining strong economic and political ties despite occasional problems.