Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Thursday that Western nations have been openly trying to restrain the development of the Union State of Russia and Belarus.
"Our Western neighbors have openly proclaimed their aim to restrain our development and (the development) of the Union State," Lavrov said at a meeting with his Belarusian counterpart, Sergei Aleinik, in the Belarusian capital Minsk, according to the Russian Foreign Ministry.
"The West is trying to incite the non-systemic opposition that is working abroad against the interests of Belarus and Russia," he added.
At a joint press conference after the talks, Lavrov said the two sides also discussed "the ongoing attempts made by the West to interfere in the internal affairs of both countries," including through the introduction of illegal sanctions that aim to weaken both economies and undermine their political stability.
During his visit, Lavrov also met with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, and participated in a joint meeting of the Russian and Belarusian foreign ministries.
Russia and Belarus also signed an intergovernmental memorandum of understanding on ensuring biological safety, in addition to a number of other documents on bilateral cooperation. The memorandum, according to Lavrov, was important in strengthening the security of the two countries and in countering biological threats emanating from Western states and organizations, the Russian Foreign Ministry said.