Belarus to seek alternative to Russian energy supplies - Lukashenko

Belarus will seek alternatives to Russian energy supplies, but there will be no war between Minsk and Moscow, President Alexander Lukashenko said.

"We are buying and will buy energy carriers from Russia. No one will fully replace Russia in this respect, but we will gradually seek an alternative," Lukashenko said, adding that this year Belarus will import 4 million tons of oil from Venezuela, and 10 million tons next year.

"We have to follow this path, as well as working on the issues of supplying cheap natural gas and other energy carriers to Belarus," he said at a meeting with state officials.

Earlier this month, Belarus and Russian energy giant Gazprom were involved in a dispute over Belarus' refusal to pay Russian-set prices for gas with Gazprom slashing deliveries and Minsk threatening to suspend European transit supplies.

The size of the fees that Gazprom pays for transit to Beltransgaz became the last stumbling block in the conflict. Belarus gas pipeline Beltransgaz CEO Vladimir Mayorov said Monday his company and Gazprom have finalized a supplementary agreement to a gas transit contract and may sign it Wednesday or Thursday.

Lukashenko also said: "No one should proceed from the assumption that we should start an economic war with Russia. This is our longtime, traditional partner."

"If today the Russian leadership took this position, they probably have grounds for that, and we criticize them but have to understand them," he said.

MINSK, June 28 (RIA Novosti)


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