Russia cuts off gas to BelarusJune 21st, 2010 - 3:20 pm ICT by IANS
Moscow, June 21 (IANS/RIA Novosti) Russia has begun cutting gas supplies to Belarus after a dispute over unpaid bills, a senior official said Monday.
State-controlled Gazprom has begun cutting gas flow to Belarus on President Dmitry Medvedev’s orders, gas monopoly chief executive officer Alexei Miller said.
“Belarus acknowledges the gas debt, but has offered to pay with machinery, equipment and various other goods,” Miller said, adding that talks had yielded no result.
Miller said the cuts would begin at 15 percent of daily supplies, and gradually be increased to 85 percent.
Belarus refuses to pay the Russian gas price, set at $169 per 1,000 cubic metres for the first quarter of the year and $185 for the second quarter, and has been paying $150 since January one instead.
Minsk previously refused to acknowledge the debt. Belarusian first deputy energy minister Eduard Tovpinets Friday announced that Gazprom owed about $200 million to Belarus for gas transit fees to Europe, the same amount that Gazprom said Belarus owed for gas deliveries.
Medvedev said Minsk should act according to the agreements and Russia’s “understanding of the partnership and the existing problems”.
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