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Russia starts cutting gas to Belarus

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Russia starts cutting gas to Belarus


There are fears gas deliveries to Europe could be affected after Russia’s decision to start cutting supplies to neighbouring Belarus.
The move follows a dispute over an unpaid bill.
Russia’s state controlled monopoly Gazprom insists it is owed more than 150 million euros, claiming Minsk has failed to pay increased prices. Belarus has challenged that claim.
Gazprom’s chief executive warned the delivery of gas will be cut ‘day-by-day, in proportion to the debt’s volume.
A restriction of 15 percent began earlier but could reach 85 percent if both countries fail to strike a deal.
About a fifth of the continents gas comes via Belarus. But, Gazprom says it has the capacity to reroute supplies away from the Eastern European country and that the impact of cuts will be less severe because of lower summer-time needs.
Last week, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev warned Minsk it would face cuts if it failed to pay off its existing debt.
Gas price disputes between Moscow and its neighbours continue to remain a concern. In January 2009, Russia halted deliveries to Ukraine for almost 2 weeks while it argued over prices and transit terms.

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