Delegations from Belarus and Russia are meeting in Moscow to try to find agreement over a gas price dispute. The row is threatening to disrupt supplies to Europe, which relies on Russia for a quarter of its gas supplies. A fifth of this transits through Belarus. The rest travels through Ukraine. A similar row between Kiev and Russia last January disrupted supplies to Europe highlighting its dependency and vulnerability. Some 20 European countries are concerned, in particular Germany and Poland.
Russia wants to hike the price for Belarus from 46 to 105 dollars per 1,000 cubic metres. Its state-owned monopoly Gazprom is threatening to turn off gas supplies if a deadline is not met on January 1. Minsk argues it should pay much lower prices because Belarus and Russia are part of a joint economic zone. Belarus wants to convince Russia to lower its price in exchange for a joint venture deal between with its Beltransgas and Gazprom.