Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko arrived in Russia's Saint Petersburg for an official visit on Jan. 27, according to his press service.
Lukashenko is set to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss Belarusian-Russian relations, as well as "international topics," reads the announcement.
Belarus is under heavy international sanctions for its role in aiding Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Russia’s initial assault at the onset of the invasion in 2022 was launched from Belarus. Russia has since used Belarusian territory as a launching pad for attacks on Ukraine and to train Russian troops before sending them to the front line.
In Russia, Lukashenko will also take part in the Supreme State Council meeting of the Union State, a supranational union consisting of Belarus and Russia, which was created in 1999 and aimed at eventually uniting the two countries into one. The council is set to discuss plans for 2024-2026, foreign policy, and the development of the Union State's mass media.
Lukashenko also plans to join festivities marking the liberation of Leningrad (now Saint Petersburg) from the blockade by the Axis powers that lasted more than two years during World War II.
The anniversary coincides with the International Holocaust Remembrance Day, also marked on Jan. 27.
Lukashenko has been the only president of Belarus since he came to power in 1994, in what is widely considered the first and last time free elections were held in the country since the dissolution of the Soviet Union.