Suspended Russian oil transit via Ukraine back to normal

Czech oil transit company Mero said Friday Russian oil supplies via the southern branch of the Druzhba pipeline were back to normal after an eight-day suspension due to sanctions.

Russian oil pipeline operator Transneft said on Tuesday that deliveries to the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia through Ukraine had been halted on August 4.

Transneft said sanctions slapped on Russia following the invasion of Ukraine prevented it from paying transit fees to Ukraine which stopped the oil transport as a result.

Slovak refinery Slovnaft and its Hungarian owner MOL volunteered to pay the transit fees earlier this week, a move approved by both Ukraine and Russia.

Oil supplies to the two countries resumed on Wednesday and Thursday, respectively.

Czech Industry and Trade Minister Jozef Sikela tweeted on Friday that the Czech Republic — negotiating on its own — had “found a way to unblock the payment for transit fees for the oil supplies.”

“Supplies resumed at 20:00 (1800 GMT),” Mero spokeswoman Barbora Putzova told AFP.

Since Russia sent troops to Ukraine on February 24, the EU and the United States have pummeled Moscow with unprecedented sanctions, cutting Russia off from international financial institutions.

Heavily dependent on oil and gas from Russia, all three countries said they had enough oil for weeks in their storage facilities and that the eight-day shutdown did not hurt them.

Oil deliveries to Poland and Germany via Belarus through the northern Druzhba branch were not disrupted.

Source: Al Arabiya

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