21 Jun 2010 16:43

Russia may cut gas supplies to Belarus by 85% but will wait

MOSCOW. June 21 (Interfax) - Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said on Monday that the current natural gas contract allows Russia to cut its gas supplies to Belarus by more than 85% but that Russia will withhold such a measure in the hope that Belarus agrees to pay its alleged arrears and accepts the Russian demand for paying a higher price for gas than it pays today.

"Strictly speaking, under the contract Gazprom [RTS: GAZP] may reduce its supplies by 85% or more, but this is not being done in view of our special relations with Belarusian consumers, and in order to give our Belarusian colleagues and partners a chance to react to the demands of their Russian partners and raise the level of financial discipline - meet all the requirements under the contract," Putin said at a government meeting.