Belarus says gas debt to Gazprom fully paid, demanding Russia to settle transit debt

MOSCOW, June 23 (Xinhua) -- Belarus has transferred 187 million U.S. dollars to Russian gas giant Gazprom on Wednesday, fully paying its debt for gas, First Deputy Prime Minister Vladimir Semashko said in Minsk Wednesday.

"We have borrowed 200 million dollars today and transferred 187 million to Gazprom at 04:00 p.m. (1300GMT) in payment for the debt, " Semashko said as quoted by Interfax news agency.

"Now we have the absolute right to demand that Gazprom repay its debt for gas transit services worth 260 million dollars by 10 a.m. on June 24. Otherwise, we will have to cut short transit services," Semashko said.

According to the minister, the 260 million dollars is Gazprom's debt for transit services accumulated since November 2009.

However, Gazprom could not confirm that Belarus has paid its debt for gas until Russia received the money, Gazprom's spokesman Sergei Kupriyanov told Interfax.

"We'll confirm settlement of the debt only after we get the money. The money is not on the account," he said.

Gazprom on Wednesday reduced gas supplies to Belarus by 60 percent of the planned volume, over a debt of 200 million U.S. dollars for gas Belarus consumed.


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