Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev warned Belarus that it must pay its US$200m debt for Russian natural gas imports by the end of this week or face supply cuts.
Rising Russian gas prices and excise hikes on Russian oil imports have impacted considerably on the Belarus economy. Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenka has insisted that Russia provide it with cheap oil and gas as part of the customs union deal, which comes in force on July. However, Moscow has rejected the demand according to an AP report.
Finance issues have soured the relationship between the two countries with Mr Lukashenko accusing the Kremlin of attempts to subdue Belarus and acquire its key industrial assets.