Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka has ordered his government to switch to U.S. dollars and euros in trading with Russia.
Lukashenka said at the Cabinet's session in Minsk on December 18 that "a task has been defined, which is to switch to dollars in trade with Russia, the way we pay for energy."
Lukashenka added that Belarus should have already demanded all payments from Russia in dollars and euros only.
Lukashenka’s statement comes amid a sharp decline in gthe exchange rate of the Russian ruble in recent weeks and less than two weeks before the Eurasian Economic Union, linking Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan, is scheduled to start functioning.
The ruble's fall has strained Russia's ties with its ex-Soviet neighbors.
Russia and Belarus have been at odds since late November, after Russia banned imports of meat and milk from Belarus, claiming it found traces of harmful substances. Minsk has also refused to follow Moscow's lead in introducing bans on food products from the European Union.