Alexander Lukashenko, once dubbed by former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice as the last dictator of Europe, suffered a humiliating loss of face today when Russian gas flows to Germany rose, contrary to his threat days earlier that such flows to Europe would be cut off as winter approaches.
President Vladimir Putin said on Saturday that a move to block gas flows to Germany would risk harming ties between Minsk and its key ally Moscow, adding that he would speak to Lukashenko on the issue.
Flows into Germany at the Mallnow metering point, which lies on the Polish border, were up to an hourly volume of over 12,454,248 kilowatt hours (kWh) on Monday, data from German network operator Gascade showed, up from weekend volumes.
Russian state gas monopoly Gazprom started refilling its European storage facilities last week, with flows coming mainly via Belarus and Ukraine.
The crisis has presented Moscow with an opportunity to highlight the status of Nord Stream 2, with Russia suggesting that more gas could flow to Europe once its newly built Nord Stream 2 pipeline gets a green light from Germany to operate.
Nord Stream 2 is designed to bypass transit countries, particularly Ukraine which has a history of gas pricing standoffs with Moscow.