Russia has delayed action on decisions to choke off gas to Belarus and reroute Russian gas export to Europe away from Belarusian territory. Prime Minister Putin says the postponement is part of a special relationship between the two countries.
These pronouncements from him followed assurances from Minsk that Belarus would pay up, but not before some heavy borrowing.
Beginning with January, Belarus has been paying an arbitrarily reduced price for Russian natural gas, running up debts which now total some 200 million American dollars.
Gazprom has already reduced the flow of its gas to Belarus by 15 percent. It had threatened to ramp up the reduction to 85 percent.