Belarus settles $726-million gas debt

Belarus has fully settled its gas debt, a spokesman for Russia's gas supply monopolist Gazprom told BelaPAN on Thursday.


He said that Belarus had paid back a total of $726.2 million in arrears for gas supplied by Gazprom to the country in 2016 and earlier this year.

Speaking earlier on Thursday, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said that Moscow and Minsk had reached agreements on gas and oil supply that satisfied both sides.

The Russian prime minister stressed that it was not Moscow's fault that the latest gas price dispute between the two countries had dragged on for months. "Unfortunately for us, at some point our partners simply stopped paying [for gas] in full under the contract, running up a considerable debt," he said.

Alyaksandr Lukashenka and Vladimir Putin, at their meeting in Saint Petersburg, Russia, on April 3, agreed that the two countries should settle all of their differences regarding the supply of gas and oil within the following 10 days.

Mr. Lukashenka reportedly promised that Minsk would pay back its gas debt, while Mr. Putin pledged that Russia would supply Belarus with 24 million tons of oil annually through 2024.
In addition, Mr. Putin reportedly said that Belarus may get $1 billion more in loans from Russia this year.

On April 12, Mr. Lukashenka signed the Customs Code of the Eurasian Economic Union, which he refused to do at the height of the gas dispute with Russia in late 2016.