The Russian President, Vladimir Putin, on Friday said the sanctions imposed by the United States and the European Union (EU) on his country over the ongoing Ukraine war are working for Russia’s progress.

Putin in a video message sent to participants of the annual Russia-Belarus forum said that the sanctions were not only accelerating and solidifying Russia’s integration with Belarus but also pushing the country forward.

Recall that following the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24, Western countries placed and are still placing several sanctions on Moscow, the Russian capital and Minsk, the largest city and Belarus capital.

The EU countries have accused Belarus of acting as a staging ground for Russia’s incursion into northern Ukraine.

Belarus is also on Chemical Weapons’ talk with Russia.

But Putin, who has refused to give up on the war, said on Friday that the relationship between Russia and Belarus was beyond mere key trade and investment partners, as the two countries ranked first in terms of accumulated capital investments in the Belarusian economy which stands at over $4 billion, adding that Russia participates in the operation of about 2,500 companies in Belarus.

On this background, Putin said that “The unprecedented political and sanction pressure from the so-called “collective West” is pushing us to accelerate the unification processes.”

He added that “After all, together it is easier to minimise the damage from the illegal sanctions imposed, easier to launch the manufacturing of popular products, develop new competencies and expand cooperation with friendly countries.”

On his part, the Belarus President, Alexander Lukashenko, called on the former Soviet Union nations to strengthen their ties with his country and Russia in order to preserve their sovereignty and independence and defeat global forces.

Lukashenko said, “Today, the countries of the post-Soviet space should be sincerely interested in rapprochement with the Union State, if, of course, they want to preserve their sovereignty and independence. We are convinced that only together can we resist global challenges.”

“Those who still have doubts should understand: without the speedy unity and rallying, strengthening of interstate ties and simply normal human relations, we may not exist tomorrow.”

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