MOSCOW (AFP) - Russia on Tuesday reduced natural gas supplies to Belarus by 30 percent after Minsk failed to settle a debt, Gazprom chief executive Alexei Miller said.
"From 10 am on 22 June we are bringing in a reduction of 30 percent on the daily volume of supplies of Russian gas to Belarus," Miller said in televised remarks.
The company reduced gas supplies on Monday by 15 percent of the daily volume and Miller said the gas cuts would be increased to 85 percent in the coming days if a solution to the conflict was not found.
Gazprom said that Belarus had, in response, threatened to start siphoning Europe-bound gas if Russia continued to ramp up energy supply cuts.
"We have received a letter from Belarus's first deputy prime minister Vladimir Semashko," company spokesman Sergei Kupriyanov said in comments posted on the website of Vesti-24 television channel.
"The letter ends essentially in a threat that in case of further cuts of gas supply to Belarus they will undertake activities related to the removal of gas from the transit system," he said.