Gazprom has started choking off gas to Belarus. The flow is down 15 percent and will finally be reduced by another 70 percentage points. The company says this adequately reflects the 200 million dollars in debts to it run up by the Belarusian side. It has notified its customers in Europe of the development, assuring them that their supply will stay unchanged.
Officials say the situation is being closely monitored, and gas bargaining with Belarus is going on.
Belarus had proposed a deal in which it gets Russian gas in exchange for farm products and manufactured goods. President Medvedev reminded it in response that Russia is under a legal obligation to trade exclusively in currency. He also instructed Gazprom to try to rebuild productive partnership with the Belarusian side.