- Associated Press - Friday, March 15, 2019

MINSK, Belarus (AP) - The Belarusian Foreign Ministry has lashed out at Russia’s ambassador, accusing him of showing disrespect for the country - the latest sign of tensions between the two neighbors and allies.

The Russian Ambassador to Minsk, Mikhail Babich, pointed at billions of dollars in Russian subsidies to Belarus and noted that Belarus will continue receiving them only if it agrees to more closely integrate with Russia. Babich’s statement echoed Russian President Vladimir Putin’s recent warning to Minsk.

Belarusian Foreign Ministry spokesman Anatoly Glaz fired back Friday, chastising Babich for failing to respect Belarus and talking “like an aspiring bookkeeper.”

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has recently criticized increases in the price of Russian energy as part of Moscow’s efforts to persuade his country to abandon its independence.

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