Lithuania affected by Russia-Belarus gas spat

  • 2010-06-25
  • Oskars Magone

Gazprom temporarily shut off its gas supply to Belarus as part of an argument over unpaid debts.

VILNIUS - Lithuania this week registered a 40 percent decline in gas supplies after Russia cut off the flow of gas to Belarus as part of a growing energy rift between the two countries.

Russia's state-owned gas company, Gazprom, began cutting gas flow to Belarus on Monday, citing an unpaid debt of nearly $200 million as the reason for the move. On Thursday Russia resumed service after saying it received a payment for the back debt.

Lithuania is the only country in Europe to get 100% of its gas supplies from Belarus. Germany and Poland also receive a portion of their gas via Belarussian transit.

Belarus, in turn, has threated to cut off transit routes through its country unless Russia pays $260 million in unpaid transit fees. Gazprom reportedly paid $228 million Thursday, though Belarus has not yet revoked its thret.

“We expect now that the flows can be restored to European customers and that they should not be affected by the disputes or disagreements concerning the transit fees,” European Commission spokeswoman Marlene Holzner said.