Gazprom bullies Belarus

Russian gas monopoly Gazprom insists that Belarus' Beltransgaz pay the arrears for the gas supplied to Belarus in January-April 2009. Besides, Gazprom is seeking for a fine for the unused gas which is not in line with the contract. Gazprom has not mentioned the exact dates of payment, according to Andrei Kuznetsov, the economics advisor at the Russian embassy in Minsk. According to the Russian news agency Prime TASS, the talk is about the fines for the unused gas during all the months apart from January 2009.

Kuznetsov said in May 2009 that Gazprom would not insist on penalty payments for the unused gas in January 2009 (as envisaged by the contract). However, the issue regarding gas supplies in February and March was not resolved. According to the Russian sources, Belarus did not use nearly 45 percent of gas in confrontation with the contract in the first quarter of 2009.