Belarus faces more than 80% of its gas shipments being cut off by the Russian gas giant, OAO Gazprom, due to its unpaid gas debt of 200 million USD. Gazprom announced that the government of Belarus must repay all of the gas debt by the 21st of June, this coming Monday or else.
"If Belarus or any other country for that matter has a much needed resource like gas choked off it doesn't take a genius analyst to figure out that there will definitely be financial and social troubles." expressed Janki Hiral.
The percentage of the gas supplies being slashed is proportional to Belarus's debt. The CEO of Gazprom, Alexei Miller stated in the annual SPIEF meeting (St. Petersburg International Economic Forum) that his company will "cut 85%" of the gas deliveries to Belarus but will allow "the remaining 15% to Belarus in order for the country to maintain its gas transport system" until the country can repay the debt.
Explaining the situation to Russia's President Medvedev, Miller said "We have well-grounded reason to cut supplies if Belarus does not cuts its debt" according to Gazprom's contract with the Belarusian government.
Of course, since Gazprom was originally a government ministry (the Soviet Ministry of Gas Industry) and the Russian government currently has certain investment in Gazprom, President Medvedev gave additional, stern warnings to Belarus.
However, Belarus contests the Russian price of natural gas and has refused to pay the 169 USD per 1,000 cubic meters in the first quarter of the year since the contract was signed on January 1st. Instead the government has only paid 150 USD, $19 below from the decided price in the first quarter and $35 below from the price in the second quarter.
In response to Gazprom's announcement, the Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko emphasized that "relations between countries and nations are not measured by cubic meters of gas", meaning there won't be any hostile movement towards Russia politically or economically due to this gassy situation unlike
Reminding his audience of almost a "brotherly" relationship with Russia, Lukashenko said ":one should remember what we fought together to protect", alluding to certain events during World War II.
President Lukashenko, to the approval of many in Moscow, said "It is necessary to reformat our relations and make them more pragmatic."