Putin and Lukashenko go skiing

The two leaders also took a ride on snowmobiles past the excited visitors of the resort.

Lukashenko thanked Putin on Monday for the economic support his country received from Russia when he was facing mass protests last year.

Russia provided Belarus with a $1.5 billion loan last September in a gesture of support for Lukashenko as protesters took to the streets across Belarus following an Aug. 9 election which opponents say was rigged.

Lukashenko responded to the protests with a violent crackdown.

He denies electoral fraud and has clung to power with the backing of the Kremlin, which said at the time that the money was to be put towards refinancing previous loans.

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