Moscow - The escalating gas dispute between Russia and Belarus is already impacting Germany and Lithuania, the president of the European Parliament, Jerzy Buzek, said Tuesday.
At a meeting in Moscow with Russian Energy Minister Sergei Schmatko, Buzek said that Russian gas was not being pumped to Europe according to earlier-agreed quantities, and Lithuania and eastern Germany were already being affected. However, Schmatko said he could not confirm this.
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko ordered a stop Tuesday to the flow of Russian gas through Belarus, saying that Russian gas monopoly Gazprom owed 260 million dollars for transit fees on Belarusian lines for the first half of 2010.
The move by Lukashenko came after Gazprom curtailed gas deliveries to Belarus by 30 per cent of the usual daily flow, saying Minsk had taken no steps towards paying off its 192 million dollars in debt.
In the past, gas disputes between Russia and Ukraine have left Europe in the cold. But the European Union's executive said this was not a danger with Belarus, as only 6.25 per cent of the EU's total gas consumption is sourced from that country.