Belarus Threatens to Siphon Russia's Europe-Bound Oil

Feb 14, 2020 | 20:24 GMT

Belarus' recent threats to both siphon oil from the transit pipelines, as well as fine Russia for a delayed nuclear plant construction, form a notable escalation in Minsk’s stance toward Russia in the two countries' ongoing standoff over oil deliveries. But the risk that escalated tensions would result in an actual oil cutoff across the massive Druzhba pipeline network -- which carries oil from Russia to points across Eastern Europe -- is low. Due to the deeply intertwined nature of the two economies, Russia will likely instead weaponize the many other ways in which Minsk remains financially reliant on Moscow in order to keep Belarus from dipping into its European oil exports. But the threats nonetheless mark a clear shift in Minsk's negotiating position. ...

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