Russian limits on gas supply to Belarus stay at 30%

MOSCOW, June 22 (Itar-Tass) -- Russian gas deliveries to Belarus have not been limited further, Gazprom spokesman Sergei Kupriyanov said.

The Gazprom staff will have its next meeting on Wednesday, Prime Tass reports.

Earlier in the day, Gazprom limited daily gas deliveries to Belarus by 30%.

Belarus claimed Gazprom's debt for gas transit and President Alexander Lukashenko ordered suspension of the transit until that debt was paid. Gazprom described the situation as purely technical and provoked by Belarus.

Gazprom is pondering other routes in gas delivery to Europe, among them Ukraine, due to the Belarusian decision to block gas transit, Kupriyanov said earlier.

European clients will receive sufficient amounts of gas, he said.

Gazprom sent the first notification to Beltransgaz in March, saying that it was necessary to repay the gas debt. By now, the debt has reached $192 million.

"Belarusian colleagues were perfectly aware of possible sanctions," he said. "For instance, the contract allowed for smaller deliveries."

Belarus did nothing, and Gazprom cut gas deliveries to Belarus by 15% on Monday and by another 15% on Tuesday, Kupriyanov said.

"Instead of paying the debt, Belarus decided to block Russian gas transit to Europe. The Belarusian president made that announcement today, and Belarusian First Deputy Prime Minister Vladimir Semashko sent an official notification to Gazprom saying that he had ordered to start taking gas from the transit pipeline for Belarusian domestic needs. That was a totally unfounded decision. We own this pipeline [Yamal-Europe that goes through Belarus]," Kupriyanov said.

"Gazprom is considering alternative routes bypassing Belarus," Kupriyanov said. "First of all, it could be transit across Ukraine. Kiev has expressed the readiness to ensure transportation of additional amounts of Russian gas to Europe. In addition, gas may be taken from underground storage sites in Europe and from spot markets. Kaliningrad will be supplied with gas via Lithuania," he said.

"We do not foresee any problems. Our clients in Europe will get sufficient amounts of gas under contracts with Gazprom, and we will tell the following to our colleagues in Minsk: 'Your decision to block the transit is not an excuse for ignoring debts'," he said.


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