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Lukashenko accuses Russia of overcharging Belarus for oil, gas

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Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko on Friday accused neighbouring Russia of overcharging for oil and natural gas exports to Belarus.

“As for natural gas, they failed to offer us equal prices. As for oil, they want us to pay higher prices than Poles and Germans do,” Lukashenko said.

Amid the dispute over prices for the commodities, Belarus has recently opted to buy oil from Norway.

Lukashenko said talks were also ongoing with suppliers from the U.S., Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

“I have excellent relations with them. They promise to supply as much oil as we need, certainly at the global price.

“We are not going to buy oil from one monopoly country. Russia is insular, former Soviet Belarus’ closest ally,“Lukashenko said.

The pricing dispute has escalated in recent weeks as Lukashenko has shrugged off Russia’s demands for stronger integration between their states, with much larger Russia maintaining a dominant position.

Belarus expects the U.S. top diplomat, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, to visit the country on Feb. 1.

The visit will be the highest level U.S. official has visited since diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Belarus were frayed more than a decade ago.

However, their relations strained following the 2006 Belarusian presidential election as the U.S. alleged Lukashenko was involved in human rights abuses related to political repression.

Edited By: Yahaya Isah/Tajudeen Atitebi

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