Russia cuts power to Belarus over debts: source

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Russia has sharply reduced its electricity supplies to cash-strapped Belarus because of unpaid bills amounting to tens of millions of dollars, a source said on Thursday.

"Deliveries have been reduced to 200 megawatts," a source close to Russia's state electricity monopoly InterRao told AFP, saying that Russia usually supplied 400-500 megawatts to its neighbour.

Belarus owes 1.5 billion rubles (54 million dollars) to Russia in electricity debts, the source added, saying that if the payment failed to appear by June 19 then Russia would be obliged to cut all deliveries.

According to the Kommersant daily, Russian deliveries represent only 10 percent of the total electricity used by Belarus.

Belarus has already been promised $3 billion from a Russia-led economic group to battle its economic crisis but is also seeking a loan of up to $8 billion from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

© 2011 AFP

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