Belarus issues tough warning to Russia over energy dispute

The leader of Belarus has warned Russia that it could lose its ally if it fails to offer compensation for higher oil prices.

President Alexander Lukashenko's statement comes amid a bitter energy dispute that has marred close ties between the two neighbors and allies.

The Belarusian leader, who has ruled the ex-Soviet nation of 10 million with an iron fist for nearly a quarter-century, has relied on loans and cheap energy from Russia. Belarus has exported oil products made with cheap Russian oil, and Moscow's decision to charge a higher price for crude supplies will cost it billions of dollars in lost revenue.

Lukashenko warned Thursday that Russia's refusal to offer compensation could result in "the loss of its only ally in the West." He ordered officials to find alternative revenue sources.

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