Bakiyev denies lending Belarus money to pay gas debt

Kurmanbek Bakiyev, Kyrgyzstan's ousted president who has taken refuge in Belarus, denied on Wednesday he had lent $200 million to Minsk to pay off its gas debt to Russia.

"The Belarusian president did not turn to me to lend him money to pay off the gas debt," Bakiyev told journalists in Minsk.

Minsk has accumulated almost $200 million in debt since the start of the year, and Gazprom ratcheted up its cuts in supplies on Wednesday to 60% of normal daily volumes.

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko told Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Tuesday that he had found the money to pay Belarus's debts. "I borrowed the money from my friends today and will pay as soon as possible," he said, without specifying where the money came from.

Bakiyev also denied allegations he had taken $200 million out of Kyrgyzstan.

"When there is chaos, people are dying, to say I took out $200 million is absurd," he said.

MINSK, June 23 (RIA Novosti)


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