Russia Cuts Gas Deliveries to Belarus

A worker at the entrance to the NEL pipeline near Lubmin, Germany where it meets the Nord Stream pipeline.

From Ellen Barry, the New York Times:  Russian President Dmitri A. Medvedev on Monday ordered Gazprom to cut deliveries of natural gas deliveries to Belarus over unpaid debts, a step which could jeopardize supplies to Poland and other European countries.

At a morning meeting with Mr. Medvedev, Aleksei Miller, the chief executive of Gazprom, said Belarus was willing to pay its debts through barter, and Mr. Medvedev tartly refused such an arrangement, saying, “Gazprom cannot accept payment for debt in pies, butter, cheese or other means of payment.”

He then ordered Gazprom to gradually reduce supplies sent through Belarus, whose pipelines carry roughly 20 percent of Russia’s experts to Europe. …

Russia rushed to reassure Europe that its supplies would not be affected, saying consumption is low and Gazprom may be able to transport natural gas to Poland through Ukraine. Russia’s previous pricing dispute with Ukraine, which transports 80 percent of Russian gas exports to the west, threw Europe into crisis, something Moscow would be loath to repeat during a season when it is taking pain to repair its relationships with European capitals.  (photo: Getty)

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