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    Belarus Gas Debt Repayment to Russia Had No Negative Effect on Budget

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    According to the Belarusian ambassador to Russia, debt payment by Minsk for Russian gas did not negatively affect the budget and gold reserves of Belarus.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Debt payment by Minsk for Russian gas did not negatively affect the budget and gold reserves of Belarus, Belarusian Ambassador to Russia Igor Petrishenko told Sputnik.

    "There is no need to dramatize the situation. After the transfer of funds, Belarusian international gold reserves increased 3.7 percent by May 1, 2017. The Belarusian side has repeatedly stated that the purpose of initiating the process of revising the mechanism of interaction in the oil and gas sector was not to fill the budget at the expense of the so-called 'Russian subsidies,' but to create equal business conditions for Belarusian and Russian enterprises… As for the second part of the issue, payments for gas are being made in full," Petrishenko said.

    In 2016, the energy dispute between Moscow and Minsk escalated after the latter called Russian gas prices unfair and decided to unilaterally reduce them. By 2016, Belarusian debt for Russian gas reached $270-$300 million, with Minsk refusing to acknowledge the debt. Russia in response reduced duty-free oil exports to Belarus.

    In April, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak and Belarusian Deputy Prime Minister Vladimir Semashko signed four agreements settling the issue, setting the gas price for Belarus at less than $130 per 1,000 cubic meters. The documents were signed shortly after Russia’s energy giant Gazprom announced that Minsk had fully repaid its debt to the company in the amount of $726.2 million for gas received in 2016-2017.


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