Russian President Vladimir Putin and Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko bargained over the price of Belarus gas imports to Russia on live television.
Lukashenko argued that the calculations for the cost of Belarus gas imports was not correct, during a live broadcast of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) meeting held in St. Petersburg on Thursday.
Noting that Belarus pays around $130 per thousand cubic meters of Russian gas, Lukashenko said, 'the price of natural gas in the Smolensk region of Russia, located right next to us is $70 per thousand cubic meters.”
In turn Putin retaliated by pointing out that Germany pays $250 for the same amount of Russian gas.
'Belarus is currently paying $129, next year it will pay $127. The EEU is an important advantage for our allies. If Belarus had not had this advantage, the price of gas would have been $200 per thousand cubic meters,' Putin said.
Lukashenko in defense explained that the living conditions in Belarus are worse than in Germany.
'We fought together against Germany and the situation of our people who did not die in battle did not improve very much. They're [Germany] paying around $250 because the natural gas is travelling an additional 3 thousand kilometers,' he said.
Putin replied that Belarus would pay $200 if the rules of the natural gas market were applied and suggested that they consult on this issue behind closed doors.
By Emre Gurkan Abay