Belarus refuses to pay more than Europe for Russian gas

MOSCOW, September 1 (RIA Novosti) - Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said Friday his country would not pay more for Russian natural gas than Germany does.

"Russia sells us oil for a price higher than that for Ukraine, and the gas prices it offers us are higher than those for Germany," Lukashenko said. "We will never pay more than Germany does."

He said Belarus was not against increased prices for Russian gas supplies, but said they should not be higher than domestic gas prices in Russia.

The controversial leader said Belarus had alternative sources of energy supplies, including from Venezuela. Hugo Chavez, the outspoken president of the South American country, visited Belarus in July and claimed the two countries enjoyed a "strategic alliance."

Belarus currently pays $46.68 for a thousand cubic meters of Russian natural gas, while average gas prices for European Union countries are $180-200 per 1,000 cubic meters.