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Gazprom tries to reassure Europe over gas supply

Gazprom tries to reassure Europe over gas supply
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Russian energy giant Gazprom is seeking to reassure Europe over gas supplies as it prepares to limit the flow to Belarus in a punitive measure for unpaid debts. The company says it will use other routes if Belarus tries to syphon-off gas bound for the West. Gazprom says unless Minks pays the more than 330 million euros it owes it will halve supplies on Friday. A spokesman said there was still now sign the money would be paid. Gazprom rejects Belarus’s claims that it cannot afford to repay the amount. Belarus is reliant on its vast neighbour for most of the energy that comes into the country. Moscow has recently doubled the price Belarus has to pay for its gas to around 73 euros per thousand cubic meters. That is still well below the price paid by western europe, which gets a quarter of its gas from Gazprom via pipelines in Belarus and Ukraine. Negotiations are continuing but it is far from clear if a deal can be struck before Friday’s deadline. Belarus has asked Russia for more time to pay the bill and is even seeking to borrow money from Moscow. Western Europe has suffered loss of supplies in previous gas disputes between Russia and Belarus and Ukraine.

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