Belarus says paid almost all debt for gas, demands transit payment

MINSK, Jun 23 (PRIME-TASS) -- Belarus has repaid almost its entire debt for Russian natural gas supplies and has demanded that Russia immediately settle a debt for gas transit, Belarusian First Deputy Prime Minister Vladimir Semashko told reporters Wednesday.

Belarus has transferred an additional U.S. $187 million to Russian gas giant Gazprom to repay debt for natural gas supplies, Semashko said.

Semashko said Gazprom could see its Europe-bound gas shipments through Belarus halted unless it immediately pays off a $260 million debt for transit. Belarus has given Gazprom until 10:00 a.m. Minsk time on Thursday to pay off the debt, he said.

Earlier Belarusian pipeline operator Beltransgaz made a $260 million payment for Russian gas supplied in May, Gazprom said earlier Wednesday. Beltransgaz still owed $192 million for gas supplied in January-April, Gazprom said.

On Monday, Gazprom slashed gas supplies to Belarus because of the outstanding debt.


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