Belarus Halts the Flow of Gas from Russia Over its Territory

by Lynnette Adamson

Right now Europe is very anxious to find a solution to the growing rift between Moscow and Minsk. This news comes as a dispute over unpaid bills begins to escalate.

Alexander Lukashenko, the president of Belarus, just this week halted the flow of Russian gas across his territory to Europe and lambasted Moscow for suggesting that he should try and pay his country's gas bill using pies, butter and cheese. Lukashenko, who was furious at the remark, instructed his government to turn off the tap as part of an escalating quarrel with the Kremlin over the unpaid bill.

During the start of the week, Gazprom cut its delivery of gas to Belarus by 15 percent, effecting a further 15 percent cut. Gazprom went on to say that Belarus has failed to pay a $192 million debt accumulated since January. Belarus says that Gazprom owes it $260 million in transit fees. After shutting down the transit supplies via Belarus to the European Union, Lukashenko admitted that the two countries are facing an all out gas war.

Lukashenko went on to say that he ordered the government to cut transit via Belarus until Gazprom pays for its transit. He said that they owe nothing to Gaprom; they owe Belarus $260 million for transit. He went on to accuse Russia's president, Dmitry Medvedev, of humiliating Belarus

Medvedev recently remarked that Gazprom cannot accept anything else but cash. They cannot take pies, nor butter, nor cheese, nor pancakes. Lukashenko took this as an insult and said that, when they are trying to insult Belarus with meat chops, sausage, butter or pancakes, they consider it as an insult for the Belarussian people.


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