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Putin Calls For More Belarusian Food, No Deal Reached On Gas Price

President Vladimir Putin has called on Belarus to increase supplies of its agricultural products to Russia and to stop embargoed Western products from being smuggled across Belarus into Russia.

Putin made the remarks on June 8 in Minsk at the Belarus-Russia Forum of Regions, a gathering attended by senior officials from both countries.

Russia in 2014 banned imports of certain foods from the European Union, the United States, Canada, and other countries in retaliation for Western sanctions over Russia's occupation and illegal annexation of Ukraine's Crimea region.

Meanwhile, Putin said after talks on June 8 with Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka in Minsk that the Russian government must work to resolve a dispute with Minsk over the price Belarus pays for Russian natural gas.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said "it was decided to continue the contracts" between Gazprom and Belarus.

Peskov also said both Putin and Lukashenka "quite harshly instructed the subordinate ministers" to resolve the "gas price and contractual liabilities" dispute "without bringing technical and technological disagreements" to the top level.

Earlier on June 8, Peskov and Belarusian Prime Minister Andrey Kabyakau both referred to the gas price issue as a "problem."

Kabyakau said the issue remained unresolved and talks on gas prices would continue.

Based on reporting by TASS, Interfax, Reuters, and AP