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Lukashenko said Belarus „crisis” with Russia was over

Belarus's „crisis” with Russia over export duties on oil shipments has passed, Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko said in remarks broadcast by NTV.

„The crisis was short, but intensive and very dangerous,” Lukashenko said. Belarus's government told Lukashenko on Sunday that the contracts with Russia are ready for crude shipments in January and February and prices „are more than acceptable to us,” he said. On January 12, Russia agreed to lower its export duty on oil shipments to Belarus to $53 a ton from $180 to end a dispute between the two countries that disrupted Russian crude shipments through Belarus to Europe earlier last week.

In turn, Belarus will pay Russia 70% of the export duty it receives for refined products made from Russian oil that it sells abroad. Belarus is ready to „actively cooperate” with Europe to ensure the country's energy security, Lukashenko said in Minsk on Sunday, his press service reported in a statement on his official Web site without providing any details. Belarus has managed to defend its interests at the talks with Russia over Russian oil supplies to and through the country, Lukashenko said in the statement. (Bloomberg)