Lithuania reports reduction in gas deliveries from Belarus

Lithuania started experiencing a decrease in gas deliveries on Wednesday, as a dispute between Russia and Belarus over back payments for gas continued, the ITAR-Tass news agency reported.

A top official at the Lithuanian gas company Lietuvos Dujos said usual deliveries had declined by 25-30 per cent. The reduction occurred at about noon local time (0900 GMT) despite the lack of any official notification about it, he said.

Russian gas is transported to three countries via Belarus - Germany, Poland and Lithuania. Gas routed via Belarusian pipelines amounts to 6.25 per cent of the European Union's total consumption.

A spokeswoman for EU Energy Commissioner Gunther Oettinger said on Wednesday that there had been no delivery problems reported in Poland and Germany by Wednesday morning.

Moscow and Minsk have been at odds since last week over what Moscow says is a debt of 192 million dollars for gas that has already been delivered. Minsk claims that Moscow owes an even greater amount for transit fees.

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko on Tuesday said he would cut off gas flowing through Belarus until Russia paid the transit fees owed.


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