Russia warns of further reduction in gas supplies to Belarus

Moscow/Minsk - Russia on Tuesday said it may make further cuts to gas supplies to Belarus, amid an ongoing dispute over Minsk's unpaid bill, the Interfax news agency reported.

A spokesman for the Russian state energy company Gazprom was quoted as saying that a 15-per-cent cut in supplies starting Monday was only the beginning.

Belarus has offered to pay the 192-million-dollar debt by July 5. But spokesman Sergei Kurpiyanov said Gazprom could not wait two weeks for payment.

Belarus is a key Russian gas transit route. There are however no fears of a bottleneck.

Kurpiyanov said Gazprom experts would consult on Tuesday morning over further action on curbing gas supplies to Belarus.

According to Russian media, Belarus' opposition to Russia's initiative of a three-way customs union with Kazakhstan, is at the centre of the dispute.

Belarus' authoritarian President Alexander Lukaschenko needs Moscow's support ahead of the upcoming presidential election in order to stay in power.


Partners: Social Network