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Putin Praises Union State With Belarus At Minsk Meeting

Russian President Vladimir Putin (left) speaks with his Belarusian counterpart Alyaksandr Lukashenka prior to a session of the Supreme State Council of the Russia-Belarus Union State in Minsk on February 25.

Russian President Vladimir Putin says the Union State of Russia and Belarus is continuing to develop and is setting the tone for relations between all countries that once were part of the Soviet Union.

Speaking Minsk on February 25 at a meeting of the Supreme State Council of the Union State, Putin said "nothing has been lost" since the Union State was created 20 years ago.

The Kremlin says the agenda of the Minsk meeting includes approval of a 2016 budget for the Union State and a program of coordinated foreign policy initiatives between Russia and Belarus.

Also being discussed are the results of trade and economic cooperation between Russia and Belarus during 2015.

Putin met separately with Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka before the Supreme State Council meeting.

Based on reporting by TASS and Interfax