There is no media war between Moscow and Minsk, said Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin
"I do not see any media war. I barely read any periodicals and I barely watch this sort of electronic press on a daily basis," Putin told Russian journalists after talks with Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych at this Crimean residence on Saturday.
There are no signs of war, the prime minister said. "I see no signs of any war or hostilities whatsoever, no wonder I am curious if there are any casualties," Putin said.
"The press often strongly reacts to certain things, about me, about the current Russian president and other our politicians. We often see quite controversial material, and what is it, a war? Unfortunately, our colleagues often believe that whenever this sort of material appears, it must have been initiated somehow. But this is not so," he said.
"The best reaction to such materials if someone thinks they are unfair is to respond in the media space as well," Putin said.
"They can lay out their argument to the authors of the material that they believe is unfair, and I do not even understand what the problem is about," he added.
"Tell me what these materials are about and I will comment," said Putin, when told by journalists that Russian television showed a report with compromising information about Belarusian leaders.
"Is it easy to make a deal with Belarusian leader? Very easy, so easy. When it comes to money or energy supplies, for some reason everyone wants to get something from Russia for free, so when they don't they get annoyed," he said.
"We must take into account our partners' lawful interests. I believe that this is how we operate: we have agreed with Belarusian colleagues, signed a contract in 2007 and we will not ask anything beyond this contract, all we are asking for is to comply with the agreements we have signed, nothing else," Putin said.
"But when we are told: let us buy less this year and twice as much next year, and we agree, and next year we are told, let's do it as last year, but even so we are trying to find a compromise. We are trying to soften transition to market conditions," he said.
"Everyone wants to buy cheap and sell dear, this is normal, there is nothing to escalate here. But if an agreement is signed, it has to be complied with," the prime minister said.