Russia restricts natural gas to Belarus

By the CNN Wire Staff

(CNN) -- Russia began to cut off natural gas supplies to Belarus on Monday, as talks over unpaid debts continued, Russian state media reported.

President Dmitry Medvedev gave the order for Russian energy giant Gazprom to start restricting gas supplies, company CEO Alexei Miller said, according to official Russian news agency RIA-Novosti.

Miller said the cut will be "gradual, daily and proportional to the volume of debt."

Gazprom is the world's biggest producer and exporter of natural gas -- and Russia's most powerful company.

It controls 20 percent of the world's natural gas reserves and operates the world's largest gas distribution network covering an area from Europe to the Far East, according to its website.

Gazprom exports energy to 32 countries and provides around 25 percent of the European Union's gas supplies.


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