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Putin, Lukashenka Discuss Russia-Belarus Union State

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka met in Moscow on March 3 to discuss the future of the Union State that links their countries.

The formation of the Union State in 1996 has resulted in several pacts aimed at creating greater social, political, and economic integration.

But plans for a single currency faltered long ago, in part because of Lukashenka's concerns about ceding too much power over his country to Putin.

Putin said the Union State was "no substitute for the common market and common economic space set up among Kazakhstan, Belarus, and Russia" in a grouping now called the Eurasian Economic Union.

But he said "we have our own issues and tasks that we are tackling within the Union State, and to that extent this union is even somewhat more advanced."

Lukashenka praised Belarus-Russia cooperation and a peace deal for the conflict in Ukraine that was reached at talks in his country's capital, Minsk, on February 12.

Based on reporting by BelTA and Interfax

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