Russia Rejects Belarus Advance Gas Payment Amid Debt Row - Deputy PM
16:48 17.12.2016(updated 16:56 17.12.2016)
Russia still believes that Belarus will pay its gas debts to Russia, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich said Saturday.
MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Russia is still waiting for Belarus to settle its gas debts with Russia and the Belarusian advance payment for future deliveries has been rejected, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich said Saturday.
"The talks are difficult. We are not waiting for advance payments, we did not need payments in advance. In has been returned to them a while ago," Dvorkovich told reporters when responding to a question on the Belarusian advance payment, adding that talks on debt settlement are ongoing.
Russia and Belarus have been in talks over the price of Russian gas deliveries to Belarus for months.
On November 8, Belarus made an advance payment for Russian gas and announced that in response it expected Russia to restore the volume of oil deliveries. On the same day, Russia said Belarus owed it $281 million for gas, with Minsk refusing to recognize the debt.
Belarus had initially bargained for $73 per 1,000 cubic meters of gas instead of $132, which it considered unfair.
Paying off the gas debt became one of the top conditions for restoring Russia's oil supplies to Belarus, along with Belarus lowering the oil transit tariffs.
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