MINSK Aug 4 Belarus is ready to supply Ukraine
with oil products, Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko
told his Ukrainian counterpart Petro Poroshenko on Monday.
Belarus has two major refineries but gets the bulk of its
oil from Russia, which annexed the Crimea peninsula from Ukraine
in March and is now under Western sanctions.
"Alexander Lukashenko stressed that Belarus understands the
acuteness of this problem during the harvesting campaign and
therefore, despite domestic needs, will assist Ukraine in
ensuring its economy has oil products," the Belarussian
president's administration said in a statement after the two
leaders spoke on the telephone.
In May, Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan signed an agreement
to form the Eurasian Economic Union which Russian President
Vladimir Putin had hoped would rival China, the United States
and European Union as an economic power.
Moscow agreed to ship, duty-free, 23 million tonnes (169
million barrels) of oil this year to Belarus as a part of a
customs union agreement. In return, Belarus exports oil
products, the duty on which it pays to Russia.
Ukraine, one of the world's key grain exporters via the
Black Sea, is currently in the middle of a harvesting campaign
which could be undermined by rising fuel prices, officials say.
(Reporting by Andrei Makhovsky; Writing by Polina Devitt and
Katya Golubkova, editing by Elizabeth Piper)