Belarus PM Pledges to Repay Electricity Debt to Russia

Posted June 23rd, 2011 at 9:50 pm (UTC-5)
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Belarus Prime Minister Mikhail Myasnikovich says his country will repay the country's electricity debt to Russia by next Tuesday.

Mr. Myasnikovich said Thursday that energy officials of the two countries have agreed that Belarus will repay its $53 million debt to Russia for April and May electricity supplies by June 28.

Russia has threatened to suspend electricity supplies to Belarus if those bills are not paid.

Belarus has accrued energy debts amid a severe economic crisis, which has prompted Minsk to seek a bailout from a Russian-led regional fund, as well as from the International Monetary Fund.

Russian Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin announced the approval Tuesday of the first $800-million segment of a Russian-led $3 billion bailout loan to help stabilize its western neighbor.

The Russian state-controlled power group InterRAO provides at least 10 percent of Belarus's electricity needs.

Russia's electricity export monopoly halved electric power supply to Belarus on June 9, and said it would completely cut off electricity exports to that country by June 22 if Belarusian power utility Belengro continued to accrue debts.