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Belarus Leader Bans Price Rises to Tackle Inflation

Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko.

Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko on Thursday banned price increases with immediate effect to curb galloping inflation in the former Soviet country. 

Lukashenko, who has ruled Belarus with an iron fist since 1994, is known for folksy eccentricities and radical suggestions, such as drinking a shot of vodka daily to ward off the coronavirus. 

"From Oct. 6, all price increases are forbidden. Forbidden! From today. Not from tomorrow, from today. So that prices aren't driven up in the next 24 hours," Lukashenko told a meeting with officials. 

He said consumer prices were "outrageous" and had increased by 18% year-on-year.

"Meat, dairy products, poultry... are getting more expensive. In Minsk there has been a shortage of eggs in recent days," Lukashenko, 68, said.  

"The task is to return to an inflation rate of 7-8% by next year," he added. 

Belarus, which borders Ukraine, is a staunch ally of Russia and allowed its territory to be used by Moscow's troops to launch its military campaign against Kyiv in February.

Belarus has been hit with a wave of Western sanctions for aiding Russia's military action in Ukraine and for a ferocious post-election crackdown in 2020.

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