Putin Says Russia Is Ready to Discuss Gas Price for Belarus

By Anastasia Ustinova and Anna Shiryaevskaya

Russia is ready to discuss prices for natural gas with Belarus, the neighboring nation that gets the lowest rates among all trade partners, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said today.

"No one of our foreign partners is getting gas cheaper than Belarus," Putin said at a meeting in St. Petersburg with his counterparts from former Soviet republics. "It is the cheapest gas, yet we will discuss all issues today."

Belarus suggested revising the rates as gas supplies in Europe increase and prices fall, prompting consumers to renegotiate the terms, the country's Prime Minister Sergei Sidorsky said at the meeting. Belarus is also seeking cancelling duties on supplies of Russian oil products to the country by January, he said.

Putin said OAO Gazprom, the Russian gas exporter, hasn't made any concessions to European customers when demand fell. He said Russia supplies sufficient crude oil without export duties to cover Belarusian domestic needs in full.


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