Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Russia Puts The Squeeze On Belarus Over Energy Supplies

Russian President Vladimir Putin (left) and Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka attend a meeting of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council in St. Petersburg on December 20.

DW: Russian companies divert oil from Belarus amidst deal impasse

Minsk and Moscow have not been able to secure a deal for 2020 to transport 24 million tons of oil from Russia to Belarus. The pipelines that run through Belarus are key to delivering oil to Europe.

Russian firms began diverting oil from Belarus on Tuesday, as both countries remained unable to agree on a deal for 2020 supply volumes.

Presidents Vladimir Putin and Alexander Lukashenko have spoken on the phone twice this week and are set to continue talks to break the impasse, but with a January 1 deadline approaching, it looked as though Moscow and Minsk were heading for yet another pre-New Year oil standoff.

However, the Kremlin downplayed the idea that Russia would unilaterally suspend oil shipments to Belarus, Reuters news agency reported.

"We propose not to discuss such apocalyptic scenarios," Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

Read more ....

Update #1: Kremlin says no deal yet on oil transit between Russia and Belarus (Reuters)
Update #2: Russia, Belarus Seek Resolution to Spat Over 2020 Oil Supplies (Bloomberg)

WNU Editor: Belarus is dependent on cheap Russian energy supplies and transit fees to Europe. The Kremlin is using that dependency to pressure Belarus to join the Russian Federation. In the meantime the Kremlin is giving a little on natural gas supplies .... Russia Agrees To Short-Term Gas Deal With Belarus Amid Union Push (RFEL).

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