Russia's Lavrov to visit Belarus amid gas crisis on June 21-22

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will visit Minsk on June 21-22 for talks with his Belarusian counterpart Viktor Martynov, a Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman said on Friday.

The visit will coincide with a deadline set by Moscow for Minsk to pay debts for the Russian gas.

Belarus is a transit country for part of Russian gas exports to Europe. On Tuesday, President Dmitry Medvedev threatened tough measures against Minsk if it does not pay off its approximate $200 million gas debt in five days.

Russia's energy giant Gazprom also warned Belarus on Wednesday that it may cut gas supplies starting June 21.

Belarus refuses to pay the Russian gas price, which is set at $169 per 1,000 cubic meters in the first quarter of the year and $185 in the second quarter. Instead, it has been paying $150 since January 1. A Russian official earlier said Minsk had "plucked this price out of thin air."

MOSCOW, June 18 (RIA Novosti)


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