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Belarusian state media is carrying comments from President Alexander Lukashenko threatening to cut off natural gas supplies from Russia through the Yamal-Europe pipeline should the EU impose further sanctions on the gov't or close Belarus' borders with Poland and Lithuania completely to ground cargo.

  • Yamal-Europe, alongside Nord Stream I and the Brotherhood pipelines, is one of the major arteries for Russian gas into Europe. The pipeline only resumed pumping gas to stations in Germany on 9 November following a long period of topping up Russian storage ahead of the winter. This contributed to a major gas and energy price spike in Europe.
  • Given the overwhelming reliance of Belarus on Russia for military, economic, and political support, the threat to Yamal could only be carried out with the express permission of the Russian gov't. Should Russia want gas transit to remain in place or resume, it would be extremely unlikely that Belarus would go ahead with a unilateral shutdown.
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