Russia cuts electricity supply to Belarus
Russia's state-controlled power trader Inter RAO UES cut on Thursday electricity supplies to Belarus by 200 MW from the current 400-500 MW over delayed debt payments, a company source told RIA Novosti.
The Belarusian power utility Belenergo failed to repay its $1.5 billion debt, accrued since March this year, by the deadline on June 8.
"Our Belarusian colleagues have not transferred the money by the end of the working day [on Wednesday," the source said.
Belenergo stopped paying for Russian electricity supplies in March and both companies held several rounds of negotiations on debt repayment deferment. Belenergo continued to accrue debts as Belarus was hit by a severe currency crisis that paralyzed domestic companies' settlements with foreign partners.
Russia's Kommersant business daily said on Wednesday that Inter RAO could decide to keep limited electricity supplies to Belarus for 10 days, and eventually halt power exports to the ex-Soviet republic, unless Minsk starts debt repayment.
Russia's power supplies to Belarus, however, account for only 10 percent of Belarus' electricity consumption and the country, ruled by strongman Alexander Lukashenko, was able to do without Russian electricity last year.