Russia to cut off electricity to Belarus: utility

21st June 2011, Comments 0 comments

Russia will cut off all electricity supplies to neighbouring Belarus at midnight (200O GMT) following a payment dispute, a spokesman for Russia's Inter RAO UES utility said Tuesday.

"It will go into effect at midnight," company spokeswoman Nikolai Garelov told AFP.

Belarus receives about 10 percent of its electricity directly from Russia and produces much of the rest locally.

Russia's neighbour has been hit by a dire economic crisis this year that has seen its state coffers drained by government efforts to prop up its currency against complete collapse.

Belarus owes Russia a $54 million debt and saw a partial cut-off earlier this month that was quickly resolved by a vow by Minsk to make the payment.

© 2011 AFP

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