Financial Times: Belarus has turned to Venezuela to help pay back a $456m debt to Russia for gas supplies after Moscow threatened to halve its gas deliveries, Alexander Lukashenko, Belarusan president, said on Thursday.
“I have instructed the government to reach into the reserve fund for $460m to pay Russia for gas. Hugo Chávez [the president of Venezuela] and our other friends can give us credits today. Even foreign commercial banks are prepared to lend to Belarus,” the Itar-Tass news agency quoted Mr Lukashenko as saying.
A Venezuelan loan to Belarus would not be surprising. Mr Chávez visited the country in June, describing Mr Lukashenko as a “brother in arms”.
A supply cut to Belarus could threaten countries in northern Europe importing Russian gas through Belarusan transit pipelines, a charge Gazprom denies.