Russia resumes Belarus gas shipments?

Russia has restarted a steady flow of gas to Belarus as the two neighbors reached a compromise on a gas row over Minsk's failure to pay a multi million dollar energy debt.

The announcement comes as earlier last week, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev ordered its state-owned gas producer to cut deliveries to Belarus by 30 percent -- up from an initial cut of 15 percent.

Meanwhile, head of Russian gas giant Gazprom Alexei Miller informed the country's president that Belarus had fully paid off its payment debts of nearly 200 million dollars, AFP reported.

As a result Gazprom announced that it would resume the supply of gas to Belarus.

"There are currently no problems that would hinder gas transit and gas supplies to Belarus," Gazprom spokesman Sergei Kupriyanov said in televised comments.

The agreement was reached after a spokeswoman for the Belarusian Energy Ministry, Lyudmila Zenkovich, confirmed that Gazprom had paid 228 million dollars to Minsk for gas transit.

Disputes between Russia and its neighbors over gas prices and transit terms have always been a threat to European countries, which rely on Russian gas.

The row is mostly a cause for concern for the less well-to-do members of the European Union as it brings to mind last year's disruption of gas supplies to Europe due to Ukraine's debt to Russia.


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