Russia, Belarus try to resolve a debt row

Belarus, which may be cut from Russian gas supplies starting today, has sent out a high-powered delegation to Moscow to clinch a last-minute accord over a gas debt issue.

Deputy Economic Minister Anatoly Filonov and other senior officials will be meeting with top Gazprom managers here at 7 a.m. Moscow time.

On Sunday, Minsk threatened Moscow that it would be unable to ensure full Russian natural gas transit to Europe if Russia cuts gas supplies to Belarus by 85% over a debt row.

Belarus refuses to pay the Russian gas price, set at $169 per 1,000 cubic meters for the first quarter of the year and $185 for the second, and has been paying $150 since January 1 instead.

Gazprom gave the Belarusians until June 21 to clear the accumulated debt of $192 million or face gas delivery cutoffs.


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