Russia is giving Belarus five days to pay off its $200 million gas debt, President Dmitry Medvedev said on Tuesday. If this is not done, tough measures will have to be taken, he stressed. He directed Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller to get in touch with the Belarusian authorities and urge them to pay off the debt as soon as possible.
Belarus continues to pay for gas deliveries at 2009 prices. Medvedev said he had discussed the gas debt with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko at a recent meeting and that the Belarusian debt was around $200 million. Miller said Gazprom had sent two official letters to the Belarusian authorities. We have received no clear answer as to when the debt will be paid off, he said.
Belarus refuses to pay the Russian gas price, set at $169 per 1,000 cubic meters in the first quarter of the year and $185 in the second quarter, and has been paying $150 since January 1 instead.