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MOSCOW, March 7. /TASS/. Russia has a consistent position in its gas dispute with Belarus and is trying to bring it to Belarusian colleagues at the working level, the Russian President’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.
He was commenting on the statement made by Belarus’ Prime Minister Andrei Kobyakov who said that the gas dispute between the countries prevents Belarus from participation in integration processes within the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU).
"Russia has a very consistent position, and we are trying to bring it to our Belarusian colleagues at the working level quite consistently," Peskov said.
He added that Putin traditionally takes the EAEU development "as one of the main priorities."
"He pays great importance to Russia’s participation in the Union and the prospects of integrational unification in general," Peskov says.
Putin’s spokesman also said that preparations are currently underway for holding the Supreme State Council of the Union State of Russia and Belarus. The date of the meeting is yet to be fixed.
Peskov reminded that Russia "appreciates relations with Belarus" and the best confirmation of this is the amount of direct and indirect aid that Russia provides to Belarus.
On Tuesday, at a meeting of the EUEA Intergovernmental Council in the Kyrgyz capital of Bishkek, Belarusian Prime Minister Andrei Kobyakov said that the problems in relations between Russia and Belarus, in particular the dispute over gas and oil issues, distort the Eurasian integration.
In response, his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev compared these statements with blackmail. He said that "if some of the countries participating in the Eurasian Economic Union had not joined it, they would have to buy gas at European [higherprices."
Medvedev urged his colleagues to remember this when making decisions that block or impede integration.
"No one forcibly keeps anyone here, we did all this voluntarily," he said.