Belarus will never cave in to Russia's threats to stop transiting oil and gas through Belarusian pipelines, President Alexander Lukashenko said on Friday.
"If we want to be sovereign, we must not bow and get down on our knees. If we do, we will never rise again," he said.
"I cannot afford to kneel before them and knock my head against the Kremlin Wall."
He said his approaches differed from those of the Russian leadership.
"They are stinking rich and I am an outsider to them," he said.
Speaking about the recently formed Customs Union between Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus, Lukashenko said so far he could see no benefit from it for his country, but Minsk would take no action against it.
He said the Customs Union would eventually collapse because "Russia does not really need it."
He suggested that Moscow had initiated the Customs Union just to irk her opponents.
"Russia shapes its policy so as to intimidate its partners," he said.
Lukashenko said there is plenty of oil and gas around in the world and Belarus has no need "to go begging from Russia".
RECHITSA (Gomel Province), July 16 (RIA Novosti)