Russia has carried out a threat to cut electricity supplies to Belarus.
Its western neighbour is in the grip of a major economic crisis and Belarus has not managed to pay its bills, according to Russia’s power monopoly InterRAO.
The cut should not affect Belarus too much, as Russian supplies represent only 10 percent of electricity consumed.
Despite tetchy relations between the two countries, Moscow insisted this was purely a business decision.
“There is no political background here, the issue is managed on a corporate level,” said Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin. “Electricity must be paid for.”
Minsk owes Moscow 37 million euros in part payment for a larger debt. Russia has imposed a strict privatisation programme on Belarus in exchange for credit.
Moscow says it expects the electricity bill to be paid fairly soon, so supplies can be resumed.