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Putin says any Belarusian move to cut gas flows risks hitting ties

Stock Markets Nov 13, 2021 09:10AM ET
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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Russian President Vladimir Putin takes part in a ceremony launching the Amur gas processing plant managed by Gazprom company via video link outside Moscow, Russia June 9, 2021. Sputnik/Sergei Ilyin/Kremlin via REUTERS
 
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By Katya Golubkova and Tom Balmforth

MOSCOW (Reuters) - President Vladimir Putin said on Saturday that Belarus had not consulted him before raising the possibility of cutting Russian natural gas flows to Europe, adding that such a move would risk harming ties between Minsk and its key ally Moscow.

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko threatened on Thursday to retaliate against any new European Union sanctions against Minsk over a migrant standoff on the Belarus-EU border, suggesting he could halt the transit of gas and other goods via Belarus.

His warning briefly lifted spot gas prices in Europe, which gets about a third of its supplies of the fuel from Russia, including via the Yamal-Europe pipeline that runs through Belarus to Poland and Germany.

The Belarusian section of the Yamal-Europe pipeline is owned by Russia's state gas monopoly, Gazprom (MCX:GAZP).

"I've recently spoken to (Lukashenko) twice and he didn't mention this to me once, he didn't even hint," Putin said in a state television interview, making his first public comments about the Belarusian threat.

"Of course, in theory, Lukashenko as president of a transit country could order our (gas) supplies to be cut to Europe. But this would mean a breach of our gas transit contract and I hope this will not happen," Putin added.

Russia has been Belarus's closest ally for years, helping with everything from cash to cheap energy supplies and military assistance, but Lukashenko's comments come at a sensitive time for Russia's energy exports to Europe.

Analysts say Lukashenko's gas comments have likely tested Putin's patience https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/lukashenko-ties-fate-moscow-while-testing-putins-patience-2021-11-12 with Russian gas supplies already at the centre of heated debate in Europe.

European gas prices - and therefore, energy bills - are on the rise this year as the recovery from the pandemic has triggered a spike in demand, forcing customers from Europe to Asia to fight for supplies.

Some European politicians have accused Moscow of failing to do more than just send contractual gas volumes, in order to calm down prices.

The European Commission said on Friday that if Lukashenko made good on his threats, it would further harm gas suppliers.

During Saturday's interview, Putin said that if Belarus did cut off supplies, it would "cause great damage" to the European energy sector "and would not help in developing our relations with Belarus as a transit country".

"I will raise this with him (Lukashenko) in case this wasn't something (he) said in the heat of the moment," Putin said.

Russia, which this week started to increase supplies to refill its European storage ahead of the winter heating season, has said more could come once its newly built Nord Stream 2 pipeline gets a green light from Germany.

Nord Stream 2 is another Russian pipeline designed to bypass transit countries, particularly Ukraine, which has a history of gas pricing standoffs with Moscow.

The Kremlin calls the pipeline a "purely commercial project" and denies that politics are behind it in any way.

Putin says any Belarusian move to cut gas flows risks hitting ties
 

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Comments (4)
sunil dhyani
sunil dhyani Nov 13, 2021 11:34AM ET
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ng will soon touch all time high and may head towards $12,its price rigging, Belarus transit blockage is manipulated one and obeying the instructions of Putin
Empire Destroyer
Empire Destroyer Nov 13, 2021 11:34AM ET
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Wish that was the case cos weather is saying we not gonna have much of a winter for rest of Nov
By designe
Series3bydesign Nov 13, 2021 11:34AM ET
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Ath is 15.78 in December of 2005 right after Hurricane Katrina shut down gulf production and all natgas processors in Louisiana which is the THE US hub. I dont see that happening unless a natural disaster occurs or significant conflict.
Todd Gray
Todd Gray Nov 13, 2021 10:51AM ET
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Many scientists are jumping off the green train. They've started to open their eyes to the reality it isn't really much greener than what we already have. Green has many harmful effects.
Karl Kessler
Karl Kessler Nov 13, 2021 10:51AM ET
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New Jazenevd No, because the electricity generated will be dissipated as heat in the devices it powers, and that heat will remain on Earth. Same as taking a window air-conditioner and running it on the living room floor instead of exhausting to the outside. It won't cool your room, it will warm it. Or putting a fan on a sailboat to *******into the sails. Doesn't work. Also, the process of producing a "substantial" amount of solar panels will have to be done with fossil fuels, because that's what powers the equipment and transportation currently. So we will FRY long before we "block" the heat.
Todd Gray
Todd Gray Nov 13, 2021 10:46AM ET
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Demand is well below prepandemic levels. We should start call the news,... the lies.
Gus McCrae
Gus McCrae Nov 13, 2021 7:36AM ET
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Fake PR reprimand to Belarus. Putin playing it very well, as usual.
Don Getty
Don Getty Nov 13, 2021 7:36AM ET
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Actually Putin keeps his dogs on tight leashes - he's happy with the dog barking but don't be cutting into his cash flow - think Kuwait/Iran - Saddam thought he has green light from the US and then the rug got pulled out - Putin is sending a message to Kushenko - you can bark but remember your my B****!
 
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