Lukashenko pledges to normalize ties with Russia

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko pledged on Friday to improve his country's troubled relations with Russia.

"We should not demonize or exemplify [tensions]. We will find ways to rectify our relations with Russia," Lukashnko told Chinese media ahead of his working visit to the republic on October 9-11.

"Russia cannot live without Belarus and Belarus cannot live without Russia; we must normalize relations," he said.

Relations between Moscow and Minsk have been strained over several economic and political disputes, including Russian gas transits, and Lukashenko's failure to honor his promise to recognize the former Georgian republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

After months of backbiting, including a three-part documentary called "The Godfather" slashing Lukashenko's authoritarian policies, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev hit out for real last Sunday.

Responding to Minsk's allegations that the Kremlin was interfering in Belarus's presidential election campaign, Medvedev accused Lukashenko in his weekly video blog of "hysterical anti-Russian rhetoric."

MINSK, October 8 (RIA Novosti)


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