Belarus could supply CIS countries with food at low prices in exchange for cheap oil, Lukashenka says

If there are problems with the import of oil from Russia, Belarus will be able to use oil produced in Venezuela...

Belarus could supply member countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) with food and other goods at low prices in exchange for cheap crude oil, Alyaksandr Lukashenka said while visiting Mahilyow on Friday, BelaPAN reports.

Alyaksandr LukashenkaOtherwise it would be inexpedient to freeze food prices in the CIS, the Belarusian leader noted.

According to him, at a recent CIS summit, some heads of state suggested “establishing stable food prices and freezing certain prices of bread, milk and meat.” “I said in this regard, ‘What stable prices do you mean? When energy resources started to rise in price in Russia, we proposed establishing stable prices of oil and gas, but you didn’t agree. And now you want me to choke our manufacturers and freeze food prices. This is not to be.’ And the president of Ukraine seconded me in this.”

Mr. Lukashenka also said that it would be impossible to artificially hold back domestic food prices, as food would simply be taken out of Belarus into neighboring countries. “We can only overcome this situation by economic methods. In particular, by increasing pay,” he noted.

He added that energy prices in the world might cease to rise, but “Belarusian products will increase in price, that is, we’ll be living a richer life.”

Mr. Lukashenka pointed out that Belarus should diversify the sources of energy imports. For instance, he said, if there are problems with the import of oil from Russia, Belarus will be able to use oil produced in Venezuela.

Mr. Lukashenka was staying in Mahilyow to attend a ceremony marking the completion of the reconstruction of the historic City Hall building.