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Lukashenko threatens to shut off gas transit to Europe in response to EU sanctions — BelTA

The president of Belarus said that the country should stop at nothing to protect its sovereignty and independence
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko Nikolai Petrov/BelTA Pool Photo via AP
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko
© Nikolai Petrov/BelTA Pool Photo via AP

MINSK, November 11. /TASS/. President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko has threatened to cut off the transit of gas to Europe (via the transnational Yamal - Europe gas pipeline) if the European Union expands sanctions. He made this statement at a meeting with the country's government on Thursday. 

"We furnish Europe with heat, yet they threaten to close the border. And what if we shut off natural gas there? Therefore, I would recommend that the Polish leadership, the Lithuanians and other empty-headed individuals think before they speak," Lukashenko said as quoted by BelTA news agency.

"But it is up to them. If they close it (the border - TASS) let them do it," Lukashenko said. At the same time, he ordered the Foreign Ministry "to warn everyone in Europe: if they introduce additional sanctions that are ‘undigestible’ and ‘unacceptable’ for us, then we should respond." "How to respond, we agreed with you about it half a year ago," the President of Belarus said.

Lukashenko reiterated that as a tough response to the new packages of EU sanctions, his country may shut off transit.

"What if we close the transit through Belarus? Through Ukraine it won’t work: the Russian border is closed there, there are no roads through the Baltic states. If we close it for the Poles and, for example, for the Germans, what will happen next? We should stop at nothing to protect our sovereignty and independence," Lukashenko said commenting on Warsaw’s plans to close the Polish-Belarusian border.

Meanwhile, the price of gas in Europe grew by almost 2% following the statements of Lukashenko about the possible shutdown of gas transit to Europe, according to data from the ICE exchange.

The price of December futures on the TTF hub in the Netherlands increased by 1.9% to $847 per 1,000 cubic meters.

To date, the price of gas has returned to $836 per 1,000 cubic meters.