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Russia To Restore Power Supplies To Belarus

High-voltage power lines in Minsk on June 28

High-voltage power lines in Minsk on June 28

Russia says it will restore power supplies to Belarus by July 1 after receiving a late payment from Minsk.

"I can confirm that power will be restored in full within two days," a spokesman for Russian state-controlled electricity exporter InterRAO, Anton Nazarov, said.

His remarks came as Belarusian Energy Ministry aide Lyudmila Zenkovich said Belarusian state energy company Belenergo today paid the second tranche of its debt to InterRAO for electricity imported in March and May.

Russia made good on a threat to halt power supplies to Belarus at midnight after it failed to make a debt payment due to its mounting economic crisis.

A spokesman said Belarus still owed the company 1.2 billion rubles ($42 million) for electricity supplied in March, April, and May and that electricity would be restored in full once payment was made.

Economy Minister Nikolai Snopkov had indicated that Belarus had "sufficient capacity" to meet its electricity needs and might stop buying Russian energy in the future.

Belarus receives about one-tenth of its electricity from Russia.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin was quoted as saying politics had nothing to do with the electricity dispute with Minsk.

Moscow has been pushing Belarus, which is facing its worst economic crisis since the Soviet era, to sell off prized assets to Russian businesses.

compiled from Reuters and other agency reports