MOSCOW, June 2. /TASS/. Russia’s newly appointed Ambassador to Belarus Dmitry Mezentsev does not see any conflict in the incident with contaminated oil in the Druzhba oil pipeline, as the countries confirmed their readiness to get to the bottom of that, the ambassador said in an interview with TASS.
"I cannot see any conflict ‘around the oil pipeline,’ as the sides have confirmed their readiness to get to the bottom of the incident, to wait for results of the commission’s work and to do their utmost so that nothing like that will ever happen in the future," Mezentsev said.
When asked if there were any signs of tensions in the current relations between Russia and Belarus, Mezentsev pointed out that "Russia’s strategic cooperation with Belarus is the cornerstone so that the ‘urgent and tactical issues’ emerging between the two countries will be solved by taking the sides’ interests into maximum consideration."
Druzhba oil pipeline incident
The Druzhba oil pipeline pumps oil to Belarusian oil refineries and further on to Europe via Belarus, Poland and Ukraine.
Belneftekhim, a Belarusian petrochemical company, said in mid-April that the quality of oil transited from Russia via the Druzhba oil pipeline had deteriorated dramatically. As a result, a number of countries stopped the transit and refining of Russian oil. Poland, in particular, suspended transit of Russian oil in late April and in early May decided to use oil from its strategic reserves.
The contamination source was spotted at the pipeline’s Samara-Unecha section. Transneft, a Russian oil major, said it had been done deliberately. A criminal case was opened into the incident. According to the Russian Investigative Committee, ‘dirty oil’ was downloaded into the pipeline in a bid to conceal thefts of oil.
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak and Belarusian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Lyashenko agreed on measures to clean the pipeline, so as the supplies of pure oil could be resumed to Poland by mid-June. Supplies of good quality oil to Belarus resumed in early May.