- Russia warns Belarus, which supports it, against stopping gas pipelines there in a dispute with the European Union.
- In an interview with state television, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Saturday that such a move would put a strain on relations between the two countries.
The European Union plans to impose new sanctions on Belarus. The country is accused of perpetrating a “hybrid attack” of smuggling refugees from crisis regions in the Middle East and Africa to the external borders of the European Union. Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko recently suspended discussion of gas supplies to Europeans.
More Belarusian security forces in the border area?
According to the Polish government, Belarus is sending more and more armed security forces to its borders with Poland. The Warsaw Defense Ministry posted videos on Twitter on Saturday that were said to have been filmed near the border town of Koznica. Dozens of men in military uniforms in camouflage suits are shown walking along the Polish border fortifications.
The information cannot be independently verified as Poland has declared a state of emergency in the border area. Journalists and assistants are not allowed in. This also applies to the border region on the Belarusian side.
The Yamal pipeline, through which Russian gas flows through Belarus to Poland and Germany, will be affected. The Belarusian part of the pipeline belongs to the Russian monopoly Gazprom.
Breach of the gas transportation contract
Putin has now said that Lukashenko has not spoken to him about this issue. He added that Lukashenko can, of course, stop gas supplies to Europe. “But this means a violation of the gas transport treaty, and I hope this will not happen,” Putin said.
Lukashenko added that such a move would harm the European energy sector on a large scale. Moreover, this will not be beneficial for Russia’s relations with Belarus as a transit country.
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