Russia has pulled the plug on Belarus’ electricity because of an unpaid bill. Supplier InterRAO said it disconnected the grid because it was owed 30 million euros.
The development puts more political pressure on Belarus; relations with Moscow have worsened, and the people of Belarus are grappling with one of the worst economic downturns in nearly two decades.
Some observers suggest Moscow is using energy as a stick with which to beat Belorussian president Aleksander Lukashenko. InterRAO denies such claims and claims it is simply a case of the company and Belarus failing to meet its obligations after signing a payment date agreement.
Prices are soaring, which has sparked the panic buying of essential goods. Now hyperinflation looms on the horizon and to make matters worse there is a balance of payments crisis that forced Kiev to slash the value of the rouble by more than half last month.
This has led to Lukashenko putting some of the state’s economic crown jewels up for sale, and Russia is keen to buy many of these public assets.