At a press conference with reporters in Minsk, President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko said that it is important for him to maintain independence from other countries, BelTA reported.
Lukashenko noted that there are no absolutely independent states in the world. Russia itself, according to Lukashenko, is rather sovereign than independent.
“If they want to divide us into regions and incorporate into Russia, as the LDPR leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky suggested, it will never happen. And if the leaders of Russia think in such categories, it first of all harms Russia. Remember that sovereignty is a sacred thing for us. I have already talked about this,” said the head of Belarus.
When asked if there is any external threat to the sovereignty of Belarus, Lukashenko replied that there is always a threat from one side or the other. According to him, Russia wants to incorporate Belarus under the pretext of "deep integration".
“I understand these hints: receive oil, but destroy the country and join Russia. I always ask a question: what are such things being done for? Have you thought about the consequences? How will our countries perceive it? How will the international community respond to that kind of stealthy incorporation of one country into another?” Lukashenko said.
“We are told that there will be a maneuver [tax compensation] when we reach deeper integration, as some say. Others tell us directly that they are ready to incorporate six regions [of Belarus] into the Russian Federation,” Lukashenko said.
Recently, the Russian tax maneuver was publicly discussed by Natalia Eismont, Press Secretary of the president of Belarus. In an interview with reporters, she said that Minsk could lose up to $ 11 billion over the next four years. According to Eismont, Belarus has already lost $ 3.6 billion over the past three years. The tax maneuver implies zero export duties on oil and oil products over a period of six years, with an increase in the tax for mineral extraction over a period of three years.