Belarus 'to suspend Russian gas transit to Europe'

A gas worker at the Yamal-Europe pipeline near the town of Nesvizh, Belarus (file) Lithuania, German and Poland would be worst affected by a supply cut

Belarus will suspend Russian transit gas deliveries to Europe after Moscow cut supplies in a dispute over debts, President Alexander Lukashenko says.

Mr Lukashenko said the neighbours were facing a "gas war" and he would resume supplies only when Belarus got $260m (?176m) in outstanding transit fees.

Earlier, Russia cut gas supplies to Belarus by 30% after Belarus failed to settle debts of $200m (?135m).

The dispute has the potential to affect 6.25% of gas consumption by the EU.

European Commission energy spokeswoman Marlene Holzner said Lithuania, Germany and Poland were "the only three countries likely to be affected", and there is an alternative supply route via Ukraine.

In 2009, a similar dispute with Ukraine saw Russia shut off supplies in the middle of winter, affecting millions of people throughout Europe.


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