Putin: No subsidizing Belarus without further establishing Union State

Vladimir Putin/ 19 December 2019. Phot. Valery Sharifulin / TASS / Forum

Russia subsidizes the economy of Belarus to its own cost; Moscow will continue doing so only if the issue of further forming the Union State is settled, Vladimir Putin said during his annual news conference on Thursday.

“Belarus pays $ 127 [per 1,000 cubic metres of gas], it is the lowest price of those that our foreign partners have. To Europe, gas goes for $200. The yields from the sale of gas to Belarus and to Europe differs by a factor of four,” he said.

“The average gas price for Russia is $ 75 per 1,000 cubic metres. The farther away from the place of production, the more the price is subsidized. Smolensk is part of the most highly-subsidized area. Smolensk consumes 2 bn [cubic metres of gas]; we sell 20 billion [cubic metres] to Belarus. It will be strange if the whole country is backed by as in the same way as it is done in Smolensk, Russia’s most subsidized region,” Putin stressed.

According to the Russian leader, the establishment of the Union State is a precondition for Moscow’s providing further grants and loans to the Belarusian economy.

“We need supranational bodies – those of control and emission. Common rules in the field of antitrust policy should work, or perhaps, there should be even a joint body. This is a tremendous job, and it can be done and implemented if there is both sides’ political will and desire. We have such desire. We are discussing it with our Belarusian partners, we are moving on to some extent. But it is still unclear what we will get. It would be a mistake if we subsidized Belarus <…> in the face of unresolved issues of establishing the union,” the Russian President concluded.

Lukashenka, Putin to continue integration talks on Friday