Belarus is ready to merge with Russia, Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko said on the third and last day of his bilateral talks with President Vladimir Putin on Friday.
Rumors resurfaced this year that Russia could annex Belarus as Putin’s constitutional term limits bar him from running for the presidency in 2024.
“The two of us could unite tomorrow, no problem,” Lukashenko said in a video shared by a Komsomolskaya Pravda tabloid Kremlin reporter on Twitter Friday.
“But are you – Russians and Belarussians – ready for it?” Lukashenko said as quoted by Interfax. “We’re ready to unite and consolidate our efforts, states and peoples as far as we’re ready.”
Putin, meanwhile, stressed that “fully independent states simply do not exist in the world,” bringing the European Union as an example of interdependence.
The Russian president has voiced support for Russia to unite with Belarus as early as 2011.