Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said Friday his country did not have an outstanding debt for Russian gas deliveries.
Alexei Miller, CEO of the Russian gas monopoly, said Thursday Gazprom could slash gas deliveries to Belarus by 85% from June 21 due to outstanding debts.
"Our talks are ongoing. From Russia's perspective, there is a gas debt, but based on what I have just said, there is no debt," Lukashenko said.
"I believe we will come to terms," he added.
He said, however, Belarus would have no problem paying off a debt if there in fact was one.
"If we agree that there is in fact a debt and if Russia is unable to keep last year's gas prices, we'll pay up, we'll find the money," Lukashenko said.
On Tuesday, President Dmitry Medvedev threatened tough measures against Minsk if it does not pay off its $200 million gas debt in five days.
Belarus refuses to pay the Russian gas price, which is set at $169 per 1,000 cubic meters in the first quarter of the year and $185 in the second quarter. Instead, it has been paying $150 since January 1. A Russian official said Minsk had "plucked this price out of thin air."
SHKLOV, June 18 (RIA Novosti)