Lukashenka, Putin publicly argue over gas price for Belarus

Alyaksandr Lukashenka and Vladimir Putin have discussed prices for energy resources at Thursday’s session of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council in St Petersburg.

“Today, we are summing up the year’s results of our joint work in the format of the Union and define the guidelines for the coming year. This year has been quite ambiguous from both political and an economic point of view,” Lukashenka said.

He called the entry into force of the Treaty on the Customs Code a ‘positive achievement’, but criticized the pricing of gas for Belarus.

According to him, Gazprom charges nearly $3 per 1,000m3 per 100km for transporting natural gas from Yamal-Nenets Autonomous District all the way to the Belarusian border while the internal Russian tariff is about $1. Due to these circumstances natural gas at the border with Russia’s Smolensk Oblast is priced at nearly $130 per 1,000m3 while the wholesale price for consumers in Smolensk Oblast is $70 or nearly half of what Belarus pays. “A simple question: how are we supposed to compete in this situation?” Lukashenka wondered.

“After reporters leave us, we are going to discuss things. I cannot but say a few words about natural gas prices. We’ve worked out an action plan for the period till 2025 when we are supposed to agree the common markets of oil, oil products, and natural gas. As for today’s situation, the ultimate price for natural gas is important, not the [transportation] tariff. You are right. We should certainly think about it,” Vladimir Putin answered.

Speaking about natural gas prices, the president of Russia decided to compare Belarus with Germany: today Belarus pays $129 per 1,000m3 of Russian natural gas and will pay $127 next year. Meanwhile, Germany pays $250. While the domestic price for natural gas in Russia is even lower, Vladimir Putin described the state of affairs as a ‘major advantage for our allies’. At the same time he agreed that the sides should strive for full unification. “But we need time for it. We need a different level of integration of our countries. It is a matter of negotiations,” said the Russian leader.

“You are right, Vladimir Vladimirovich. But, unfortunately or fortunately, our key partner is not Germany but Russia. And our main partners and competitors are Russians,” Lukashenka stressed.

In his opinion, Germans pay such a price as Russian gas has to go a long way to reach them.

“I’ve said it more than once already. We fought the war together while our WW2 veterans have to live with this situation,” he added., following BelTA

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