«Even though it’s a brotherly country, we can’t just rely on Russia. Because, as you see, the market (there has) collapsed, and we are tumbling behind it. We need to enter new markets at any price,» Lukashenka told government officials on 15 December.
Lukashenka cited Belarus’ renewed trade with U. S. companies as a successful example of winning new markets. «[The Americans] have lifted all sanctions and we are trading with them,» said Lukashenka.
According to the Belarusian president, Russia currently accounts for 40%-45% of Belarusian exports and Minsk needs to reduce its dependency on the Russian market even further.
«You see what is going on in Ukraine — also one of our key markets,» added Lukashenka. «We should do all we can today to protect our production capacities and avoid layoffs».