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MOSCOW, December 31 (RIA Novosti) – Russian President Vladimir Putin has endorsed agreements on deliveries of natural gas to Belarus in 2013.
The ratification act that Putin signed sets out the formula for the price of gas Belarus imports for domestic consumption in 2013 and subsequent years, tying it to the price of gas for consumers in Russia’s Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous District, according to the document, published on Russia's official legal information website.
It also defines the tariffs for gas transportation by Belarusian pipeline operator Beltransgaz – which is wholly owned by Russia’s Gazprom - both on gas delivered to domestic customers and gas destined for export beyond Belarus.
Under the agreements, Beltransgaz will transit up to 60 billion cubic meters of Russian gas in 2013, an amount representing 134.8 percent of the target for 2012, to its borders with Lithuania, Ukraine and Poland.
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The growing outright rivalry between the United States and China gives Russia more foreign policy weight, enabling it to assume the role of a balancer. So far it has been doing so rather skillfully. Today it may participate in a joint naval exercise with China that Beijing positions as outwardly anti-American. But tomorrow it can team up with the naval forces of the Old World.