Russia has stopped shipping oil to Belarus, the Belarusian state energy firm said on Friday, after the two countries failed to reach a deal on supplies by a January 1 deadline. Moscow said oil flow through Belarus -- a key transit route for Russian oil and gas to Europe -- was continuing. But a dragged-out dispute could threaten supplies.
Belneftekhim said in a statement that loading to Belarus’s two oil refineries had been reduced to a technical minimum after supplies from Russia were halted. “Work is ongoing on concluding the January contracts,” said the statement, quoted by state media.
The ex-Soviet neighbours have a long history of energy disputes and complicated bilateral ties, with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko running hot and cold on Moscow’s push for a closer trade and political union. A previous deal on oil prices, transit fees and volumes expired on December 31. Lukashenko and Russian President Vladimir Putin held a series of calls ahead of the deadline but without apparent progress.