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Lukashenko shares tidbits about phone conversation with Putin

MINSK (BelTA) – At the meeting with Governor of Russia's Arkhangelsk Oblast Igor Orlov on 21 February, Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko told him about a telephone conversation with Russia President Vladimir Putin, BelTA informs.

In particular, the heads of state discussed supplies of energy resources.

“I am sorry for being late. The president of Russia called me (you know that we sometimes have arguments about certain issues). He suggested that we should think about certain things, including the delivery of oil to Belarus. Of course, we are now trying to mull over his proposal (which was unexpected). But, perhaps, it doesn't matter, because the oil is Russian. Russia can set either reasonable or unreasonable prices as a monopolist. We did not get oil from other sources. The same pertains to gas,” the president said at the beginning of the meeting.

“By the way, Vladimir Putin suggested calculating how much we will lose from the reduction of customs duties in 2020 in comparison with the previous year,” the head of state said.

“For example, last year we got $1 billion from customs duties. This year we will get $700 million because of the reduction (it is decreasing all the time). He said that they would make up for those $300 million, including through bonuses for companies,” the Belarusian president said.

“This is his proposal. Well, at least it is a certain way to the resolution of disputes. As far as the oil issue is concerned, Russia is ready to help us keep a financial level of the previous year in the oil industry. We will now calculate all that. But these calculations make virtually no sense. There are no other options from Russia. They asked us to trade oil at global prices. But companies did not agree. They also asked to add $12 of bonuses to the global price. You see, they say that we have marginal markets – of Europe, Ukraine, the Belarusian market,” Aleksandr Lukashenko remarked.

According to the head of state, he told Vladimir Putin: “This is our advantage [marginal markets]. Your advantage is that you have oil and gas.”

Aleksandr Lukashenko added that he had instructed the prime minister to calculate all things and to eventually reach an agreement on further work in the field.