SOCHI, February 27. /TASS/. Belarus' debt for Russian gas supplies has reached $600 mln at the moment, Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich said in an interview aired by RBC TV business news channel within the Russian Investment Forum in Sochi on Monday.
"The underpayment amounts to around $600 mln," he said.
Earlier Dvorkovich sad that the country’s debt for Russian gas deliveries amounted to around $550 mln as of January 28.
Belarus and Russia have been negotiating a reduction in gas prices since early 2016. Minsk insisted on lowering the price of Russian natural gas from $132 to $73 per 1,000 cubic meters and demanded that Russia switch to equal netback pricing. In response to underpayment of around $300 mln for Russian gas supplies Moscow cut its tax-free oil supplies to Belarus by more than a third.
In end-2016, Belarus transferred an advance payment for Russian gas and expressed the hope that the volume of oil supplies would be restored. However, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich said that Russia had returned the advance payment and insisted on full execution of the gas contract. At the same time, Dvorkovich did not rule out that the settlement of the gas dispute with Belarus could be resolved in court.