Ukraine is ready to do everything to settle a gas dispute between Russia and Belarus, as well as to pump more Russian gas to Europe if needed, Ukraine's fuel and energy minister said on Wednesday, RIA Novosti informed.

"First, I want to say that today's conflict is a bilateral affair between Russia and Belarus. And we want it [the dispute] to end as soon as possible, and the two countries to find a compromise and agree," the Ukrainian Fuel and Energy Ministry's press service quoted Yury Boiko as saying.

Russian energy giant Gazprom has reduced supplies to Belarus by 60% over Minsk's $200 million gas debt. The company initially cut supplies by 15% on Monday, doubling the reduction to 30% on Tuesday and again to 60% on Wednesday.

It has warned the cuts may reach 85% or daily volumes if Belarus fails to repay the debt.

Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller said "the Belarusian side has taken no steps" to meet the company's demands.

Boiko said Ukraine, the main transit nation for Russian gas supplies to Europe, would be able to increase supplies if Moscow makes such a proposal.

"We have the technical capability to increase the transit of gas across our territory by approximately 30 billion cubic meters," he said, adding that "we have received official proposals neither from Russia nor from Belarusian colleagues."

Ukraine currently pumps more than 110 billion cubic meters of Russian gas to Europe annually.

Gazprom has said it has agreed with Kiev to reroute gas intended for European consumers via Ukrainian pipelines.

The dispute between Russia and Belarus has erupted as Minsk has refused to pay the Russian gas price, set at $169 per 1,000 cubic meters for the first quarter of the year and $185 for the second quarter, and has been paying only $150 since January 1.

Miller has said Belarus continued pumping the same volume of Russian gas to Europe despite Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko's threats to cut supplies. Poland's gas company said on Wednesday it was receiving its full allocation of gas via Belarus.

Lukashenko told Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Tuesday in Minsk that he had found money to repay the debt, but argued that Gazprom owed Minsk for transit fees and proposed canceling the debt. He said he had ordered suspension of Russian gas supplies to Europe, potentially affecting 6.25% of consumers.

Gazprom admitted it had a debt but did not specify its amount, only saying Minsk refused to allow it to settle the debt. The two parties have failed to reach any mutual debt offset arrangement.


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