Updated at 18:32,10-08-2020

Belarus's Lukashenka blames Russia for trade dispute

RFE/RL with reporting by BelTA

Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka has blamed Moscow for a trade dispute that is straining ties between the traditional allies at a time when Russia's economy is struggling under the weight of low oil prices and Western sanctions.

Speaking at a government meeting in Minsk on December 11, Lukashenka said that "tamed Russian political strategists and journalists" should look for the roots of the conflict "not in Belarus, but somewhere over there in Moscow."

Russia and Belarus have been at odds over trade since late November, after Russia banned imports of meat and milk from Belarus, claiming it found traces of harmful substances.

Belarus has responded to the politically charged ban by stepping up checks on Russian vehicles entering the country, saying it is necessary to prevent smuggling.

Russia and Belarus are partners in a "Union State" and a customs union, but their ties are often marred by disagreements in economic issues and trade.