Cutoff Belarus Vows To Pay Russia Overdue Energy Bills

Belarus’s central bank has pledged that Minsk will pay Russia an outstanding debt for power supplies debt by the end of the day after Moscow cut off power to its junior neighbor earlier in the day.

Reuters cites a report in which Interfax quotes an unnamed bank representative as saying, “Today all debt-payment transfers for electricity will be submitted to InterRAO,” in a reference to Russia’s state-controlled electricity exporter.

Russia made good on a threat to halt power supplies to Belarus at midnight after it failed to make a debt payment due to its mounting economic crisis.

A spokesman said Belarus still owed the company 1.2 billion rubles ($42 million) for electricity supplied in March, April, and May and that electricity would be restored in full once payment was made.

Economy Minister Nikolai Snopkov had indicated that Belarus had “sufficient capacity” to meet its electricity needs and might stop buying Russian energy in the future.

Belarus receives about one-tenth of its electricity from Russia.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin was quoted as saying politics had nothing to do with the electricity dispute with Minsk.

Moscow has been pushing Belarus, which is facing its worst economic crisis since the Soviet era, to sell off prized assets to Russian businesses.

compiled from Reuters and other agency reports

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