The row between Minsk and Moscow is getting nasty. This week Belarusian President Aleksander Lukashenko threatened to buy American, Saudi, or UAE oil, to replace supplies from Moscow, which sees Belarus as a client state.
Russia has been using energy as a weapon against Minsk in order to gain more influence over the country (Don’t tell that to Angela Merkel of Germany of course who is increasing her reliance on Russian gas).
Russian and Belarus currently operate under a loose confederation signed when the Soviet Union collapsed, called ‘The Union State’. Lukashenko fears the end of his political power if the relationship becomes more formal.
“I don’t want to be the last president of Belarus,” he said on Friday, adding that he was in talks with the United States the UAE and Saudi Arabia over oil supplies, according to Belta News, reported The Moscow Times.
“I have wonderful relations with them. They say we will supply whatever you need. Of course, this is the global price. But the oil quality is better there,” he said.
Belarus and Russia failed to agree on an oil supply contract for this year, prompting Russia to halt supplies to refineries in Belarus, though it partially restored them on Jan. 4, added The Moscow Times.
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