Russia could supply oil to Europe even if the Belarusian authorities block a section of the Druzhba pipeline, Energy Minister Alexander Novak quoted TASS as saying.
"I believe the pipe overlap option is a force majeure, which, in my opinion, is absolutely inadequate, we do not even consider that option. Of course we have reservations in other areas of oil supplies, including with an increase in cargo volume through sea ports, "said Novak.
However, the Minister deems it appropriate to continue the work in accordance with existing agreements and contracts.
On 11 April, Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko said that the Belarusian authorities could, if necessary, cut its stretch of the Druzhba pipeline for repair, despite having transported Russian oil to Europe. The statement was a response to the recent ban on imports of Belarusian apples and pears into Russia due to the increased incidence of deliveries of goods from countries that have fallen under food embargoes.
Later, representatives of Russia's Transneft, which serves the Russian section of the pipeline, said it is in satisfactory condition and does not require repair. However, if the work is still needed, the company is ready to provide its specialists.