Russian PM expresses regret over tension with Belarus

10:24, July 20, 2011      

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Tension between Russia and Belarus is regrettable, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday.

"I can only deplore about it. From our part, we do and we will do everything not to let it happen," Putin was quoted by the Interfax news agency as saying during a meeting with representatives of Russia's civic organizations here.

He noted it was bad to see the tension problems arise even on the grassroots level.

The Russian PM made the remarks in response to comments of Valery Kazakov, the chairman of the Belarusian national cultural society Russian Belorussians, who said tension between Moscow and Minsk is growing.

Tension between Moscow and Minsk emerges regularly in recent years as Russia has been irresponsive to Belarus' demands on gas and oil supplies under discounted prices.

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko routinely accuses Kremlin of causing economic hardships in his country, because Moscow insists fuel should be shipped to Belarus for the world market price.

Earlier on Tuesday, Russian Ambassador to Minsk Alexander Surikov told Belarusian media that Moscow could not help Minsk resolve its economic problems for free anymore.

Belarus, along with Kazakhstan and Russia, forms the Customs Union and Common Economic Space.

Source: Xinhua
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