Lukashenka’s press conference (live)

The conference started at 11 a.m. Journalists could enter the building a few hours before the beginning and took photos of the residence interior.

"Welcome to our stronghold of independence,” Lukashenka began his speech.

On success: the Olympics, harvest and World Ice Hockey Championship. Then he switched to Ukraine:

"I was a year of patriotism. It was a difficult year for brotherly Ukraine… But Belarus, Russia and Ukraine are connected and nobody is allowed to break off these relations.”

On the economic problems in Belarus:

"The events in Ukraine and the default in Russia are to blame for it… Russia sanctions and the response sanctions have also played their part… We are doing what we can and as fast we possible. We have made certain steps and you know about them… We are acting in a calm way. Money likes silence. I mean that if journalists want it to be quiet, they should not make any unnecessary fuss.”

"We will get out of the difficult situation our economy is in now,” Alyaksandr Lukashenka promised. 85% of Belarusian export was Russia-oriented when he became President in 1994, he reminded. The number is only 42% now.

"We trade with the West more than with Russia,” Lukashenka claimed.

On possible secession from the Eurasian Union

"If the commitments are not fulfilled, we may use the right to leave this union… Poles and the EU work on our territory in better conditions that Belarusian do. But there are factors stopping me from starting a war like that. Ukraine pays $400 for Russian gas. This is with a discount. And we pay $134. Should we be insolent and demand $80 from the Kremlin?”

Euroradio journalist Zmitser Lukashuk is present at the conference.

Lukashenka has been answering there questions for an hour. And there are 240 journalists present. We will probably stay here for the night))