The Russian gas monopoly Gazprom has lifted its threat to cut gas supplies to Belarus, after Minsk made a part-payment of its outstanding bill. Belarus was given until this morning to settle the 333-million euro debt, or Gazprom would halve its gas deliveries. The Belarus gas pipeline company Beltransgas, says it has now paid 139-million euros. Gazprom spokesman Sergei Kupriyanov said: “We see real steps taken by Belarus to settle this debt issue, and therefore the decision was made not to reduce the gas supply today. We expect that by Thursday next week the debt will be fully paid off.” A delegation from Minsk held last minute talks in Moscow resulting in the deal, though Russia says its neighbour will face punishment unless the debt is totally cleared by next week. The dispute has unnerved many European countries. Belarus is a main transit country for Russian energy supplies to Europe, and disruption there has caused cuts to European energy supplies over the last three winters.
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