Russia extends gas cuts to Belarus

08:37, June 24, 2010      

Email | Print | Subscribe | Comments | Forum 

Russia Wednesday cut gas supplies to Belarus by 60 percent as a payment feud between the ex-Soviet neighbors that has raised fears for European consumers went into a third day.

But despite threats from maverick Belarussian leader Alexander Lukashenko that he was shutting down transit of Russian gas to Europe, Russian state gas giant Gazprom said gas was flowing normally.

"We have two pieces of news. One is good, the other is bad," Gazprom chief executive Alexei Miller told state television.

"Transit of Russian gas through the territory of Belarus is being implemented in the full amount and consumers of Russian gas do not experience any problems with it."

"The bad news is the Belarussian side is undertaking no action to settle the debt for Russian gas supplies," he said, noting his company had moved to limit supplies by 60 percent from Wednesday morning and the cuts would continue in proportion to Belarus' debt.

The dispute centers on Belarus' refusal to accept a hike in the price it pays for Russian gas from the $150 per 1,000 cubic meters it paid on average last year to $169.2 in the first quarter of this year and $184.8 in the second quarter.

Later Wednesday Gazprom said Belarus had paid $260 million at full price for gas supplies in May, but added that Minsk must also "immediately" cover $192 million in arrears.

After Minsk said it saw no reason for price hikes since the two countries had been working to ramp up economic cooperation, Gazprom Monday reduced gas supplies to Belarus by 15 percent and then by 30 percent Tuesday.

Belarus for its part says Gazprom owes it more than $200 million in transit fees.

The gas giant has said it would incrementally reduce gas supplies up to 85 percent of the normal volume if the debt is not settled in the coming days.

Following Tuesday's cut, Lukashenko ordered a shutdown of Russian gas transit deliveries to Europe, raising fears in the European Union, whose members Lithuania, Germany and Poland depend on Russian gas piped through Belarus.

Gas supplies via Belarus to Lithuania and the Russian Baltic territory of Kaliningrad fell 40 percent Wednesday, Lithuania's national gas firm said.

The EU has called on Minsk and Moscow to respect their contractual obligations.

Analysts say the dispute has been sharpened by Lukashenko turning away from reliance on the Kremlin and pursuing closer ties with the EU.

Source: Global Times

(Editor:黄蓓蓓)

  • Do you have anything to say?

双语词典
dictionary

  
Special Coverage
  • Premier Wen Jiabao visits Hungary, Britain, Germany
  • From drought to floods
Major headlines
Editor's Pick
  • A man visits "Thy Word Is Truth, the Bible Ministry Exhibition of the Protestant Church in China", during its opening at Mount Vernon Place United Methodist Church in Washington DC, capital of the United States, Sept. 28, 2011. Through the Bible's various Chinese versions, ancient or modern, as well as pictures, paintings, calligraphy, art works and historical documents, the exhibition was expected to give an overall understanding of how Bible was brought into China, how it was translated, published, distributed and loved. (Xinhua/Zhang Jun)
  • A visitor passes by in the exhibition of Istanbul design week on Sept. 28, 2011 in Istanbul, Turkey. Istanbul design week will be hosting designers and design exhibitions from around the world in Istanbul from Sept 28 to Oct 2 with the participation of 25 countries. (Xinhua/Ma yan)
  • Red flag flies at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China's Gansu Province, Sept. 28, 2011. A spokesperson with China's manned space program said Wednesday that fuel has been injected into the Long March-2FT1 carrier rocket in preparation for launching the Tiangong-1 space module Thursday evening as planned. (Xinhua/Wang Jianmin)
  • A militant loyal to the Libyan National Transitional Council (NTC) waves in a tank near Bani Walid, one of the pro-Muammar Gaddafi strongholds, on Sept. 28, 2011. (Xinhua/Hamza Turkia)
  • Jewish worshippers pray at the Western Wall, Judaism's holiest prayer site, in Jerusalem's Old City on Sept. 28, 2011, ahead of Rosh Hashanah, the two-day Jewish new year which will begin at sunset on Sept. 28 and conclude at nightfall on Sept. 30. (Xinhua/Muammar Awad)
  • High school student Johanna Choapa is helped by her father after announcing the end of hunger strike in Santiago, capital of Chile, on Sept. 28, 2011. The end of the strike took place to make way for a dialogue with the government, seeking to resolve the four-month crisis in the education sector. (Xinhua/Jorge Villegas)
Hot Forum Discussion