The third phase of the Yamal - Europe gas pipeline, which passes through Belarus, has begun to be brought into use. According to the press office of Belarussian state gas transport and supply company Beltransgaz, after completion of the construction of the 183-kilometre section of the pipeline, experts will work until April 1 on expelling air and filling the pipeline with gas.
The pipeline is being prepared for use by Russian experts. According to the press office, representatives of Orgenergogaz (Russia), the main contractor for preparatory work on the pipeline, are responsible for ensuring that junction valves on the pipeline work properly.
After preparatory work has been completed, the entire Belarussian stretch of the pipeline, from the Russian border in the east to the Polish border in the west, will be filled with gas. Beltransgaz believes that this 'will allow Russian gas to be transported to Germany through Belarus, which will improve the reliability of gas transport to Western consumers.'
On September 21, 1999 the first Belarussian section of the Yamal - Europe pipeline was brought into service. It stretches 209 kilometres from the Nesvizhskaya compressor station to Belarus' border with Poland. Between July 23 and August 1, 2002 the second section of the pipeline, from the Smolenskaya compressor station to the River Berezina, was filled with gas.
Following the summit in Riga on November 30, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg explained how the alliance could respond to Russia's 'new aggression against Ukraine.'