Russia may pull plug on indebted Belarus next week

Russia’s electricity export monopoly Inter RAO has decided to delay cutting off power supplies to debt-burdened Belarus until June 27 after negotiations, company spokesman Boris Kovalchuk said on Tuesday.

Belarus, which is struggling with a balance of payments crisis, receives about 10 percent of its electricity needs from Inter RAO. The country, which owes Inter RAO $1.5 billion, has only just paid off arrears for March.

“We have just had negotiations and consultations with our Belarusian colleagues and decided to postpone power cuts until Monday,” Kovalchuk said.

Inter RAO halved electricity supplies to Belarus on June 9 as a warning and then promised to completely cut off exports on June 22.

Belarus’s power utility Belenergo continued to accrue debts as Belarus was hit by a severe currency crisis that paralyzed domestic companies’ settlements with foreign partners.

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