Putin hails progress in Russia-Belarus integration

Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) greets Belarus' President Alexander Lukashenko at the Konstantin Palace presidential residence in Strelna, outside St. Petersburg, on December 29, 2021. (Photo: AFP)

MOSCOW, Dec. 29 (Xinhua) -- Russia and Belarus have made "substantial headway" in 2021 in the integration process between the two countries, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday.

The two sides have approved 28 programs for the development of the Russia-Belarus Union State, which will create better conditions for their economies, Putin said during a meeting with visiting Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko in Russia's St. Petersburg.

The Belarusian and Russian governments have created groups for implementing the agreements on developing the Union State, Lukashenko noted.

The leaders agreed to strengthen cooperation in defence and aircraft manufacturing.