Putin urges quick work on gas storage facility amid Belarus spat

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin called on the government to speed up the construction of an underground gas storage facility in Kaliningrad Region, a Russian exclave that gets its gas via Belarus.

"This facility should be put into operation in late 2011 - early 2012," Putin told the inner cabinet on Monday.

Putin's remarks came in the light of the current gas crisis with Belarus.

Belarus has refused to pay higher prices this year, which increased to $169 per 1,000 cubic meters for the first quarter and $185 for the second quarter, and has continued to pay last year's rate of $150 instead.

Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller said earlier on Monday that the Russian energy giant had started cutting gas supplies to Belarus over the debt, which has reached $200 million. The cuts will gradually rise from 15 to 85 percent of daily supply.

MOSCOW, June 21 (RIA Novosti)


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