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How dependent is Belarus on oil for heating? Is Putin trying to freeze Belarus into submission? This is a good reminder to dress warmly, use blankets, and be certain to have sleeping bags which resist subfreezing temperatures for emergencies. Belarus is still getting natural gas for now. There’s no independence without energy independence – ideally renewable. This oil cut off will apparently impact Europe, as well.

From RFE/RL:
Russia Halts Oil Supply To Belarus Amid New Contract Dispute
January 03, 2020 12:34 GMT By RFE/RL’s Belarus Service
MINSK — Russia has halted oil supplies to Belarus amid a disagreement over tariffs, according to officials at a Belarusian oil refinery in the northern city of Navapolatsak.

The officials told RFE/RL that the shipments stopped on January 1 and the facility is currently processing only Russian oil delivered before that date.

Belarus has been at odds with Russia over oil-transit prices for some time against a backdrop of increasing pressure by Moscow on Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka to deepen integration between the two countries.

A two-month deal on natural-gas prices hours before a December 31 deadline helped the sides avoid a gas shutoff to start the year.

Belarus is heavily reliant on Russia for fuel and funding and is a key transit route for Russian energy supplies to Europe.

Moscow and Minsk signed an agreement in 1999 to form a unified state, but little progress has been made in the ensuing two decades.

Meetings between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Lukashenka last year failed to bring the two sides together as the Belarusian president complained he was merely seeking “equal” terms.

Belarusian protests in December targeted the perceived secrecy of the talks and objected to closer ties to Russia.

Mike Pompeo this week postponed a planned visit to Minsk to meet with Lukashenka in what would have been the first visit by a U.S. secretary of state to that post-Soviet country in a quarter century.
RFE/RL’s Belarus Service 
RFE/RL’s Belarus Service is one of the leading providers of news and analysis to Belarusian audiences in their own language. It is a bulwark against pervasive Russian propaganda and defies the government’s virtual monopoly on domestic broadcast media. Copyright (c) 2019. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

Excerpt from Charter’97 Press Center “December 31, after a telephone talk with the President of Russia, Aliaksansr Lukashenka held a meeting with the leadership of the petrochemical complex./ Following the meeting, chairman of Belneftekhim Andrei Rybakov said that the president had instructed to provide oil supplies from alternative sources in the coming days. First of all, the matter concerns deliveries by rail from ports on the Baltic Sea, as well as the use of the Druzhba pipeline.” https://charter97.org/en/news/2020/1/3/361068/

Russia cuts off oil supplies to Belarus as economic talks collapse
Belarus relies on Russia for 80% of energy needs, hosts pipeline that Russia uses to export oil
“, Jan 03, 2020 11:49 AM https://www.cbc.ca/news/world/russia-belarus-dispute-1.5414064