* Belarus says has oil deal with Moscow for 2013
* Moscow denies deal, says will cut deliveries from Jan
* Adds to tensions amid Ukraine gas stand-off
* Putin in Brussels calls EU decision uncivilised
(Wraps stories from Moscow, Brussels and Minsk)
By Andrei Makhovsky and Vladimir Soldatkin
MINSK/MOSCOW, Dec 21 Russia plunged back into
the disputes over energy with Ukraine and Belarus that have
repeatedly disrupted oil and gas supplies to European Union
countries, and it also termed EU energy policy as "uncivilised".
Russia on Friday denied remarks by Belarussian President
Alexander Lukashenko that it had agreed to increase its crude
oil supplies to Minsk, vital for the Belarus economy, and said
that it still intended to cut them next year.
On Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin criticised
Ukraine for failing to agree on a deal, in return for cheaper
gas, under which it would lease its pipeline network to Moscow
and the European Union.
Russia, the world's top energy producer, supplies over a
quarter of Europe's gas and oil needs. Ukraine ships around two
thirds of Europe's imports of Siberian gas through pipelines
across its territory, while Belarus is mainly responsible for
Clashes over energy pricing and pipeline transit with
Ukraine and Belarus have led over the past decade to cuts or
halts in Russian oil and gas supplies to Central and Western
Europe. These have most often happened over the New Year, when
Russia failed to agree on energy supply terms with the two
The European Union has accused the Kremlin of using its
energy might as a political tool, while Moscow has argued it
wants its neighbours to pay fair prices promptly for energy.
On Friday, Belarussian state news agency BelTA quoted
Lukashenko as saying Russia had agreed to increase oil supplies
next year to 23 million tonnes (460,000 barrels per day) from
21.5 million this year.
"We have really agreed on the supply ... We will get the oil
without any issues," he said.
Moscow was quick to deny the report, insisting it was
offering 18.5 million tonnes, an effective cut in supplies.
"As of today, an agreement on supplies to Belarus in 2013
has not been signed," Russia's Energy ministry said in a
statement. "The Russian side's offer is supplying 18.5 million
tonnes of oil. Supplies in the first quarter of 2013 will be
based on the suggested volume."
Russian oil is crucial for the economy of Belarus and is
supplied free of Russia's normally hefty export duties as Moscow
seeks to keep the country within its political orbit.
Belarus has two large oil refineries that process Russian
crude and export gasoline and diesel to the West.
The refining business earns vital hard currency, but Moscow
has occasionally bridled over supply terms, part of a complex
arrangement that also covers pipeline supplies of Russian oil
and gas to Europe via Belarussian pipelines.
Belarus, which suffered from a balance-of-payments crisis in
2011, faces a foreign debt repayment crunch next year when about
$3 billion of its liabilities fall due.
The stand-off with Belarus comes as Moscow is struggling to
reach a deal with Ukraine over gas deliveries. Ukraine's
reluctance to strike a deal on its gas transit system led to the
last-minute cancellation of a visit to Moscow by its President
Viktor Yanukovich this week.
Although Moscow has regularly been at odds with both
neighbours, it has never faced a situation of simultaneous cuts
through both countries to Europe.
At the same time tensions between Moscow and the European
Union have risen over economic, political and human rights
Putin, in Brussels on Friday for a Russian-EU summit, said
it was unacceptable that EU rules were applied retroactively. He
was particularly referring to the Third Energy Package of EU
legislation to create a single energy market and prevent those
that dominate supply from also dominating distribution.
An EU antitrust case against Russia's gas export monopoly
Gazprom as well as EU attempts to diversify its energy
suppliers away from Russia and legislation to encourage
competition have angered Moscow.
"Of course the EU has the right to take any decisions, but
... we are stunned by the fact that this decision is given
retroactive force," Putin told reporters in Brussels.
"It is an absolutely uncivilised decision."
Russia presented the European Commision with new proposals
on the legal status of its gas pipeline infrastructure to
accommodate its export projects in Europe, Energy Minister
Alexander Novak told reporters.
Russia has been seeking exemptions from EU regulation that
would allow it to make full use of pipelines bringing gas to
Europe by routes that skirt around Ukraine.
(Additional reporting by Alexei Anishchuk in Brussels; Writing
by Dmitry Zhdannikov; Editing by Anthony Barker)