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21 Jul, 2008 13:00

Sort it out! Putin’s demand over delay to Czech oil deliveries

Russia's Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin, has ordered the government to look into delays in delivering oil to the Czech Republic, following recent disruptions. The Deputy Prime Minister, Igor Sechin, says the current problems are being caused by offshore i

The delays began earlier this month and coincided with a deal between Washington and Prague to deploy part of the American missile defence shield in the Czech Republic.

Russia strongly objects to the plan, viewing it as a threat to its national security.

However, Moscow says the oil delivery problems are purely logistical.

Sechin stressed that, despite long-lasting negotiations, the Czech government has not signed an inter-governmental agreement on Russian oil deliveries which would make the shipments easier to control.

The Deputy Prime Minister said that another factor was Ukraine’s intention to transport oil this year on the Odessa-Brody route. That, he said, had led to concern among Russian companies and made them look for more stable ways to supply oil – through Russia’s port cities of Novorossiysk and Primorsk. The Russian Ministry of Industry and Energy has sent an explanatory letter to the Czech Ambassador, Sechin said.