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Thursday, December 9, 2021

Belarusian move to cut European gas supply would harm ties with Russia – Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin has responded to threats issued by Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko against the EU in relation to cutting its gas transit with Europe.

Putin stated that such a move would risk harming ties between Minsk and its key ally Moscow.

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The threats were made in retaliation against further potential EU sanctions imposed on the country over accusations of orchestrating a migrant crisis in Europe.

Belarus has already been hit with sanctions by the EU for electoral fraud and arresting a journalist from a Ryanair flight that was forced to land in Minsk.

Europe gets approximately 30% of its fuel supplies from Russia which includes the Yamal-Europe pipeline that runs through Belarus to Poland and Germany.

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The Belarusian section of the pipeline is owned by Russia’s state gas monopoly, Gazprom.

In a state television interview, Putin stated, “I’ve recently spoken to (Lukashenko) twice and he didn’t mention this to me once, he didn’t even hint,”.

Putin added, “Of course, in theory, Lukashenko as president of a transit country could order our supplies to be cut to Europe. But this would mean a breach of our gas transit contract and I hope this will not happen”.

As Europe is already in the midst of an energy crisis which has seen gas and electricity prices soar, concerns have been raised in relation to Lukashenko’s threats.

Putin stated that if Lukashenko follows through with his threats, it would cause great damage to the European energy sector and “would not help in developing our relations with Belarus as a transit country”.

“I will raise this with him in case this wasn’t something said in the heat of the moment”.

IMAGE – “Vladimir Putin” by theglobalpanorama is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0/”Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenk” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by oscepa

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