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Matviyenko Says Minsk, Moscow Must Stem Decline In Trade

The speaker of Russia's upper house of parliament says that Russia and Belarus must work together to halt a noticeable decline in bilateral trade.

Valentina Matviyenko said during a visit to Minsk on June 4 that trade turnover had fallen recently by some 15 percent, mainly due to the devaluation of the countries' currencies and a "complicated world economic situation."

Belarus and Russia, which formed a union state some 25 years ago, have been hit hard by lower energy prices and international economic sanctions against Russia for its takeover of Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula and its backing of separatists in eastern Ukraine.

The two are also members of the Russia-led Eurasian Economic Union.

Speaking on Belarusian television, Matviyenko said the two countries "know what we should do to correct the situation."

"We cannot say that over the 25 years of construction of the Union State we have created a single state but we have created a very integrated system and economy," Matviyenko said.

She said the two countries close economic ties have prevented the economic crisis from "getting worse."

Based on reporting by TASS and RTR-Belarus TV

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