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Belarus threatens not to sign integration deal with Russia if 'oil and gas issues' unresolved

Belarus threatens not to sign integration deal with Russia if 'oil and gas issues' unresolved
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko addresses the media after casting his vote during the parliamentary election in Minsk, Belarus November 17, 2019. REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko -
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VASILY FEDOSENKO(Reuters)
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MINSK (Reuters) – Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko threatened on Sunday not to sign an integration deal with Moscow later this year if Moscow fails to resolve “oil and gas issues”.

Russia has provided energy subsidies and loans to Belarus to keep Minsk in its political orbit but now plans to phase these out to lessen the burden on its economy.

Belarus previously said that it stands to lose hundreds of millions of dollars a year from changes to Russian tax policy and has tried to negotiate compensation. Russia says the subsidies cost its exchequer billions of dollars.

(Reporting by Andrei Makhovsky; Writing by Andrey Kuzmin; editing by Matthias Williams)

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