"Maybe it’s love?" Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin commented on his relations with Alyaksandr Lukashenka in an annual question-and-answer session with Russian citizens.
This was an answer by Vladimir Putin to a question during his annual question-to-answer session with Russian citizens why he didn’t respond to often critical remarks from Alyaksandr Lukashenka.
The Russian PM said Russia’s aid to Belarus would depend on the degree of political integration between the two countries in a union state.
"There are different ways of cooperation (between the two countries), but the Belarusian leadership wants to get more. It is possible, but I strongly believe this should depend on the degree of political integration between the two countries in a union state," Putin said.
"The deeper this integration, the greater the possibility we can move to internal Russian prices, including prices of energy," the Russian PM stressed.
Amid the global financial crisis, Belarusian manufacturers cannot get access to agricultural equipment grant programmes carried out in Russia, Putin said.
"Belarusian agricultural equipment can get to the Russian market without any restrictions, but due to the crisis in the Russian and world economy Russia is not ready to allow Belarusian manufacturers to use grant programmes," he emphasized.
According to Putin, in that case, "Russian plants bear losses". He reminded the Russian government in fact funds purchasing home-made equipment by Russian farms. According to the PM, "These are our current problems that can cause certain tension."
The Russian PM also said that Belarus addressed Russia asking that Gazprom should preserve the current gas price for the coming year. He reminded: "Under the contract, the price must increase by minimum value at least."