Gazprom starts cutting gas supplies to Belarus

MOSCOW, Jun 21 (PRIME-TASS) -- Russian natural gas giant Gazprom started cutting gas supplies to Belarus at 10 a.m. Moscow time on Monday, Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller told television network Rossiya 24.

Miller said supplies would initially be cut by 15% and the reduction would be gradually increased to 85%.

Sergei Kupriyanov, a Gazprom spokesman, said supplies could technically be cut by 85% within several hours.

Kupriyanov said, however, that Russian gas transit through Belarus was not expected to be reduced.

Polish oil and gas company PGNiG and Lithuanian gas company Lietuvos dujos said that Russian gas transit through Belarus to, respectively, Poland and Lithuania had not been disrupted so far, as cited by ITAR-TASS.

Kupriyanov also said that Belarus' debt for Russian natural gas supplied until June may rise to U.S. $260-$270 million. He added that currently the debt totaled $192 million.

The next payment for gas supplies is due in two days, he said.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Ukrainian gas pipeline operator Ukrtransgaz said it was prepared to offset the cut in gas supplies through Belarus by increasing the transit of Russian gas through Ukraine, ITAR-TASS reported.


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