The row between Russia and Balarus looks set to increase again after Belarus announced that it will increase tariffs for the transit of Russian oil through its domestic pipeline network by more than 30% starting on February 15.
The Belarusian pipeline operator Gomeltransneft Druzhba will increase tariffs by along the strategic Druzhba (Friendship) pipeline that extends for almost 2,000 kilometers across Belarusian territory and pumps on average up to 80 million tons of Russian oil per year to Germany, Poland and Ukraine.
Russia halted deliveries to Europe via the pipeline in January, saying Belarus was illegally tapping oil. The interruption in supplies affected Germany, Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, and further damaged Russia’s reputation as a core energy supplier to Europe following a similar energy row with Ukraine involving natural gas this time last year.
These latest changes could spark another diplomatic row between the two countries.