Milk and oil war begins
11:32, — Politics
Russia has responded to the arrest of Uralkali CEO.
The sanitary service of the neighbouring state announces its claims to the quality of Belarusian dairy products and Transneft company reduces oil supplies to Minsk.
Experts thinks it is Moscow's response to the arrest of Vladislav Baumgertner, Uralkali CEO and chairman of the supervisory council of the Belarusian Potash Company (BPC), and the abuse of power charges against him.
Complaints about the quality of dairy products were traditionally expressed by Russia's chief sanitary inspector Gennady Onishchenko. According to him, 240 samples of Belarusian dairy products were tested in the Moscow region and 72 samples, or 30%, didn't meet the quality and safety requirements.
“In particular, we have questions about granulated curd and butter produced by Savushkin Product company, City Dairy Factory No. 1 and other Belarusian factories. Products for tests were taken in Russian chain stores,” Russia's chief sanitary inspector said.
The news appeared on Wednesday evening that Russia would reduce oil supplies to Belarus by 25% in September. According to Transneft vice president Mikhail Barkov, the decision was taken due to the repair works on the Druzhba pipeline.
“A pipe will be replaced to avoid technological problems on the Druzhba pipeline. Oil supplies to Belarus will be cut on September 1 by 400,000 tonnes – by 200,000 tonnes to the Mozyr refinery and to Naftan,” Mikhail Barkov said.
Belarus has not yet received an official warning from Transneft about the cuts of oil supplies in September 2013.
“Dairy products is the most painful spot in Belarus's exports to Russia today. Complaints about dairy products were made some weeks ago. But they were made in a soft tone. It's possible that resuming this topic by Onishchenko is an asymmetric response to the actions by the Belarusian authorities in relation to Baumgertner,” economist Leu Marholin told charter97.org.
He adds there have been no reports about accidents on the Druzhba pipeline until today, so urgent repair works are hardly needed.
“I think the reduction of oil supplies to Belarus is a reaction of Russia. It seems we'll see a series of such responses. It's like a bee's bite – one is not dangerous, but many of them are very unpleasant,” the economist said.