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Crisis on the border with Belarus. Vladimir Putin on Russian gas supplies via Belarus to Europe

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Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Saturday that the interruption of gas transit to Europe by Belarus would be a violation of the transit contract. He expressed hope that it will not come to this. However, Putin made a reservation that “theoretically” Alyaksandr Lukashenka could issue such an order.

– Theoretically, Lukashenka, as president of a transit country, may probably order the interruption of our supplies to Europe, although this would be a violation of our transit contract and I hope that it will not happen – Putin said in an interview with the state television Rossiya. He then added: “but on the other hand, new sanctions are always applied against him and are threatened with their imposition.”

Interrupting the transit “would cause great damage to the energy sector in Europe” and “would not be conducive to the development of relations” between Russia and Belarus as a transit country, Putin said.

The Russian president also stated that Lukashenka had never consulted him on the possibility of Belarus cutting off Russian gas supplies to Europe.

He also spoke on this subject on Saturday Saturday in “One on One”, a Belarusian opposition activist, former Belarusian ambassador to Poland, Paweł Latuszka. When asked about Lukashenka’s threat that Belarus could cut off gas transit through its territory in response to EU sanctions, the Belarusian oppositionist said that “it was a game”. – He has exceeded the limit that Putin will allow him. He cannot play with it, because gas is not Belarusian. He cannot putin in such a situation. He has crossed the border – he added.

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Alyaksandr Lukashenka on gas supplies to Europe

Alyaksandr Lukashenka threatened on Thursday with retaliation for any new sanctions imposed by the European Union. – They scare us too much with this fifth package (sanctions – ed.). (…) Poland scares us that it will close the border. Please, close, fewer refugees (oppositionists – editor) will move there – he said.

– And if we close gas transit through Belarus? It will not go through Ukraine: the Russian border is closed there. There are also no routes through the Baltic states. If we close for Poles, for Germans, what will happen then? – said the Belarusian politician.

Lukashenka also indicated that the Yamal-Europe gas pipeline runs through the territory of Belarus, in which the amount of gas transmitted from Russia has recently decreased.

Yamal-Europe gas pipeline

The Yamal-Europe gas pipeline belongs to the Russian Gazprom, as does the Belarusian gas pipeline system (distributing the gas throughout the country), which Russia bought from the Belarusian authorities in 2007-2011 for 5 billion dollars.

Currently, the Belarusian gas transport system and the Belarusian section of the Yamal-Europe gas pipeline are controlled by Gazprom Transgaz Belaruś, a company owned by Gazprom.


Main photo source: EPA / MIKHAIL METZEL

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