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President of Belarus rules out Russian takeover

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The president of Belarus has dismissed the possibility that Russia could incorporate his nation. President Alexander Lukashenko said at a news conference Friday that the two neighbors and allies are discussing ways to further expand their close ties, but emphasized that Russia’s absorption of Belarus isn’t on the agenda.

Lukashenko noted that “Belarusians want to be with Russia, but they want to live in their own apartment.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said the two countries should integrate more so that Belarus can get lower prices for Russian natural gas and other resources.

Some have alleged that the Kremlin could be hatching plans to incorporate Belarus and its 10 million people, speculation that has been fueled by Russia’s 2014 annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula.

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