Vladimir Putin (right) and Alexander Lukashenko (left) seemed to be having a good time at the meeting (Picture: via REUTERS)
Alexander Lukashenko was sat alongside Putin during a meeting held in Saint Petersburg, Russia, on Sunday.
They were speaking with Russian polar scientists based at the Vostok research station, which is close to the South Pole, through a videocall.
And during the call Lukashenko was apparently so impressed by the facility that he asked Putin to join him on a future trip to the base.
Scientists have opened a new wintering facility at Vostok, described by Russian media as ‘Russia’s flagship project in the Antarctic region’.
Lukashenko asked: ‘Let’s go some time? Looks interesting!’
Putin didn’t seem hugely enthusiastic about the proposed trip (Picture: Contributor/Getty Images)
Putin, appearing less enthusiastic than his Belarusian counterpart, replied: ‘Yes, OK.’
While the two leaders appeared to be getting along well during the meeting yesterday, tensions between Russia and Belarus, as well as with the West, have been rising.
Putin spoke at a memorial to mark 80 years since the end of the Nazi’s siege on Leningrad – the name of Saint Petersburg at the time – using the opportunity to ramp up his attacks against Ukraine and claiming that Volodymyr Zelensky’s regime ‘glorifies Hitler’s accomplices, the SS’.
Lukashenko has been in power since 1994. He has staged a new crackdown on dissent after stamping out unprecedented demonstrations against what his opponents say was his rigged re-election in 2020.
Human rights group Viasna (Spring) claims at least 157 people have been detained or questioned.
Putin backed him in that confrontation, and Lukashenko allowed Russia to use its territory as a staging post for its 2022 invasion of Ukraine.
Lukashenko agreed last year to deploy Russian tactical nuclear weapons in his country on Russia’s western border – but he hasn’t committed any troops to the war in Ukraine.
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