EU lashes out against Belarus for cutting gas to Lithuania

Brussels - The European Commission lashed out against Belarus Wednesday for cutting gas supplies to Lithuania, ignoring warnings not to involve European Union countries in a bilateral row with Russia.

EU Energy Commissioner Gunther Oettinger said that Lithuania registered a 40 per cent cut in supplies from Belarus, a country on which it relies completely to deliver gas sourced from Russia.

'If there is a problem for Lithuania ... it is not only a problem for this one member state, it is an attack against the whole of the European Union,' Oettinger told a press conference in Brussels with Ukraine's Energy Minister Yuriy Boyko.

Russia has cut deliveries to Belarus by 60 per cent overall, after accusing the country of having fallen behind with payments.

'I think the government of Belarus wants to integrate Europe in their problem, but I think it's not okay,' Oettinger charged.

Boyko confirmed Ukraine was 'if necessary ... ready to help,' referring to the possibility of more gas being pumped through its Europe-bound pipelines to make up for the Belarussian cut.

Both Oettinger and Boyko expressed hope that would not be necessary, as they called for a quick resolution to the gas dispute.


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