Russia restores electricity to stricken Belarus

AP News
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Posted: Jul 02, 2011 11:18 AM
Russia restores electricity to stricken Belarus

Russian media say the country has restored electricity supplies to Belarus after a four-day cutoff due to unpaid bills.

Anton Nazarov, a spokesman for state-run energy provider Unified Energy Systems, said that power had been reconnected Saturday after Belarus, which is suffering its worst financial crisis since the Soviet breakup, paid its 600 milion ruble ($21.5 million, 14.84 million euro) debt.

Russia provides about 10 percent of Belarus' electricity, but the move to turn it off Wednesday put the struggling country under pressure. The government in Minsk was forced to devalue its currency recently, causing panic buying of goods and huge lines at currency exchange offices.

Russia has traditionally been Belarus' main sponsor and ally, but it has phased out economic subsidies in recent years as it pushed for more control over Belarus' economy.