Poland not affected by Russia-Belarus gas conflict?

After Gazprom threatened to cut off Belarus from gas supplies, the Russian gas giant has maintained that European deliveries will continue as normal.

The move by Gazprom to reduce gas supplies to Belarus by 15 percent is the result of a debt owed by Minsk to the tune of 192 million US dollars.

Belarus does not deny the debt claim, although sources in Minsk state that as of May 1 Russia's western neighbour owes significantly less, amounting to 132.6 million US dollars.

Minsk additionally claims that Gazprom owes 200 US dollars in transit fees for gas sent to European customers.

Spokesman for Gazprom, Sergei Kuprianov told journalists on Monday that the company is in talks with Belarusian officials, without leaving any room for negotiation, however.

"There is only one item on the agenda: settling the debt," Kuprianov underlined. If no agreement is reached then gas supplies may be reduced by up to 85 percent.

The Russian ITAR-TASS news agency reported, Monday, that Gazprom maintains that the dispute will not affect European supplies.

Europe wary about gas dispute

The European Commission hopes that a swift agreement will be met between Russia and Belarus.

Spokesman for the EC, Marlene Holzner told journalists that EU-Russian energy experts are to meet Monday afternoon to assess the current situation and determine whether there is a threat to EU energy supplies.

According to figures held by the European Commission, three countries in the 27-nation bloc would suffer if gas supplies were stalled through Belarus: Lithuania, which is fully dependent on the Belarusian transit of gas, as well as Poland and Germany. (jb)


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