Russia-Belarus gas dispute still unresolved

Russia has reduced gas supplies to Belarus by 30 percent, Tuesday morning, as Gazprom's demands to settle payments have not been met. Poland and the EU may be affected if the dispute is not resolved soon.

Head of the Russian gas giant, Aleksei Miller told journalists that supplies will continue to be diminished if Minsk does not pay dues amounting to 192 million US dollars.

However, a communique released by the Belarusian Energy Ministry states that Minsk will settle the debts by July 5, after an immediate payment of gas supplies for the month of May.

On Monday, Vladimir Semashko, Belarusian deputy PM, said the country "will pay its dues within two weeks," although the Gazprom chief retorted on the same day that "no-one is going to wait [that long]."

Belarus is also threatening to siphon off gas which is transported to the EU for the country's own needs if Gazprom will continue to reduce gas supplies, said Gazprom spokesman Sergei Kupriyanov in Moscow, Tuesday.

The European Commission released a statement on Tuesday that the Russia-Belarus gas dispute may affect up to 6.25 percent of European gas consumption. (jb)


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