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Press Release- Embassy of Belarus : 22 June 2020

June 18, 2020

 

 

Belarus registers 56,657 coronavirus cases as of Jun 18, 2020, 331 dead

 

MINSK, Jun 18 – PrimePress. Belarus registered 56,657 coronavirus cases as of June 18, 2020, the Health Ministry of Belarus reports on its official Telegram channel.

 

34,023 recovered patients have been discharged from hospitals.

 

Yesterday, the ministry reported 56,032 registered coronavirus cases and 324 deaths in Belarus.

 

The Health Ministry says over 800,000 tests for the coronavirus infection have been conducted in Belarus as of June 18. End

 

Belarus’ Foreign Minister, SCC chief invite EU and US diplomats to cooperate in Belgazprombank case

 

MINSK, Jun 18 – PrimePress. Belarus Foreign Minister Vladimir Makey and Chairman of the State Control Committee (SCC) of Belarus Ivan Tertel have voiced proposals for ambassadors of the European Union states and the head of the U.S. diplomatic mission in Minsk to cooperate in investigating criminal cases of financial fraud by Belgazprombank officials. Makey and Tertel met with representatives of the diplomatic corps in the evening of June 18, the state-run information agency BelTA reports.

 

In the framework of the investigation, Belarus has already sent letters to a number of states, responding to requests from them. During today’s meeting of the heads of foreign diplomatic missions they were informed in detail about the progress of the investigation, BelTA’s report says.

 

As previously reported, former head of Belgazprombank Viktor Babariko, who is now considered as one of the key rivals of Alexander Lukashenko in the forthcoming presidential elections in Belarus, and Babariko’s son Eduard, who heads his father’s election campaign headquarters, were detained and taken to the SCC Financial Investigations Department in the morning of June 18 for questioning. Their homes were searched. Babariko previously emphasized that according to the law there can be no claims against the bank and its related companies, and the actions of the authorities are a political frame-up.

 

Chairman of the State Control Committee (SCC) of Belarus Ivan Tertel told reporters on June 18: “The SCC Financial Investigations Department (FID) has initiated a number of criminal cases under Article 243 (large-scale tax evasion), Article 235 (legalization of criminal funds), Article 210 (large-scale theft), Article 209 (fraud), as well as under Article 430 (bribery) and Article 431 (bribe giving). We have detained about 20 people who directly participated in illegal activities, including Babariko. Babariko was detained in connection with the fact that he was the direct organizer and leader of the illegal activity, tried to influence the testimony of witnesses, made attempts to hide the traces of the crimes committed and just recently withdrew a large amount of money from the accounts under his control”. End

 

 

European Commission set to urge Belarus to comply with highest standards of nuclear safety at Astravyets facility

 

MINSK, Jun 18 – PrimePress. The European Commission intends to urge Belarus to meet the highest standards of nuclear safety at the Belarusian nuclear power plant (BelNPP, Astravyets, Grodno Oblast), the press service of the European Commission said in a statement on June 18.

 

“The safety of Astravyets facility is the concern of not only one member state of the European Union, but the entire European Union,” the report says.

 

The press service of the European Commission says the recommendations of the European Nuclear Safety Regulators Group (ENSREG) “should be implemented satisfactorily” before the launch of BelNPP. The statement comes with a reminder that Belarus has pledged to “respond to all the recommendations and continue implementing the National Action Plan. The National Action Plan is a document formulated as a result of stress tests at BelNPP and specifies measures to improve the safety of the plant.

 

The European Commission stresses that it has not yet received a formal response from Minsk about the ENSREG verification of the National Action Plan, and urged Belarus to give consent to European experts’ visit to the BelNPP site.

 

At the same time, the European Commission recognizes that the Belarusian authorities have recently taken a number of constructive measures, in particular, signed agreements with Lithuania on emergency notification of accidents at nuclear power plants. End

 

 

Lukashenko sacks NBB Deputy Chairman Mamanovich

 

MINSK, Jun 18 – PrimePress. Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has relieved Deputy Chairman of the National Bank of Belarus Piotr Mamanovich from his duties “due to his retirement”, Lukashenko’s press-service said in a statement. End

 

 

Yermakova makes up Belgazprombank’s interim administration

 

MINSK, Jun 18 – PrimePress. Nadezhda Yermakova, head of the interim administration at Belgazprombank, has formed an eight-member administration and distributed their duties and responsibilities, the bank’s press service said in a statement on June 18.

 

All members of the interim administration represent high-ranking officials of  Belarusbank and Belagroprombank.

 

Yermakova will be responsible for risk management, internal audit, information policy and personnel.

 

As a member of the interim administration, Deputy Chairman of the Board of Belarusbank Alexander Yegorov will acts as Yermakova ‘s substitute in her absence. He is also in charge of assets and liabilities management, bank finance, budget, information technology, retail business, regional network, financial reporting.

 

As a member of the interim administration, Galina Tarasova shall supervise legal issues, case management, corporate management, documentation issues; Dmitri Dudik – treasury, settlements; Anna Babitskaya – international settlements, correspondent relations with international financial institutions; Yuri Delikatny – financial monitoring, internal control system.

 

Valery Simonov shall be responsible for development and support of retail services, acquiring, processing, payment systems of retail business, cash circulation, cash operations, collection; Alexander Rusakomsky – for corporate business, lending to corporate clients, problem assets; Natalia Poyasok shall supervise risk management.

 

As previously reported, the National Bank of Belarus (NBB) on June 15, 2020 appointed the interim administration to Belgazprombank OJSC headed by Nadezhda Yermakova. The bank’s board was suspended for the period of the interim administration.

 

Earlier, the Financial Investigations Department of the State Control Committee of Belarus conducted searches at Belgazprombank’s head office in Minsk in the framework of criminal cases of tax evasion and money laundering. The investigators claim there was an organized criminal group in Belgazprombank to withdraw money abroad. Fifteen people, including top managers of the bank, were detained.

 

Former head of Belgazprombank Viktor Babariko, who is now considered as one of the key rivals of Alexander Lukashenko in the forthcoming presidential elections in Belarus, and Babariko’s son Eduard, who heads his father’s election campaign headquarters, were detained and taken to the SCC Financial Investigations Department in the morning of June 18 for questioning. Their homes were searched. Babariko previously emphasized that according to the law there can be no claims against the bank and its related companies, and the actions of the authorities are a political frame-up.

 

Belgazprombank was established in 1990 and is the authorized bank of the Gazprom Group in Belarus. Russia’s Gazprom and Gazprombank each hold a 49.66% stake in Belgazprombank, Gazprom Transgaz Belarus holds a 0.49% share, and 0.18% is held by Belarus’ Ministry of Energy. Belgazprombank belongs to Tier I Group. End

 

 

Thursday forex session: ruble down 0.02% against dollar to Br2.3817/$1

 

MINSK, Jun 18 – PrimePress. Following the bidding at the single forex session of the Belarusian Currency and Stock Exchange (BCSE) in the format of a continuous two-way auction, the Belarusian ruble stood at Br2.3817/$1 to the dollar on June 18, down 0.02% on the previous day of trading, says the BCSE official report.

 

Following the bidding at the single forex session on Thursday, the ruble stood at Br2.6781/€1 to the euro, up 0.19%; at Br3.4281/RUB100 to the Russian ruble, up 0.14%.

 

As previously reported, the National Bank of Belarus (NBB) on June 1, 2015 stopped the practice of fixing the exchange rate of the Belarusian ruble to the basket of foreign currencies on a day-to-day basis and switched over to FX trading on the Belarusian Currency and Stock Exchange (BCSE) in the format of a continuous two-way auction.

 

The parties taking part in continuous two-way auctions at the BCSE are free to make bids and offers during the entire auction period, however deals will be made if the FX trading system bridges bids with relevant offers.

 

The weighted average rate of the US dollar, the euro and the Russian ruble shall be the National Bank’s official exchange rate of the relevant currency for the day that follows the day of trading.

 

At the moment, the exchange rate of the Belarusian ruble is pegged to the basket of foreign currencies, with the share of the Russian ruble standing at 50%, the US dollar – 30%, the euro – 20%. End

 

 

Russia’s Q3 oil supplies to Belarus agreed at 5.75m tonnes

 

MINSK, Jun 18 – PrimePress. Russia’s Energy Ministry and Belarus’ petrochemical industries concern Belneftekhim have agreed on supplies of 5.75 million tonnes of oil to Belarus via trunk oil pipelines in July–September, the deliveries will be made by 10 companies, Belneftekhim’s press secretary Alexander Tishchenko told PRIME on Thursday.

 

“With the Russian Energy Ministry a schedule of oil deliveries through trunk pipelines to Belarusian refineries in the amount of 5.75 million tonnes was determined for the third quarter of 2020 – 2.875 million tonnes for each refinery,” Tishchenko said.

 

He added that the deliveries will be made by Rosneft, Lukoil, Surgutneftegas, Gazprom Neft, Tatneft, Bashneft, RussNeft, Zarubezhneft, Yangpur, and Neftisa.

 

As previously reported, Russia reduced oil supplies to Belarus in January-May 2020 by 47.7% year on year to 3.641 million tonnes. The supply plan for this period provided for 10.865 million tonnes.

 

Russia’s Central Dispatch Office of the Fuel and Energy Complex: in January-May 2020, 1.564 million tonnes were delivered to the Mozyr Oil Refinery OJSC (Gomel Oblast) against planned 5.402 million. Naftan OJSC (Novopolotsk, Vitebsk Oblast) received 2.078 million tonnes, the agreed plan being 5.463 million. In May, Russia supplied 509,200 tonnes of oil to the Mozyr Refinery against planned 1.041 million. Naftan received 616,800 (1.028 million planned). End

 

 

Belarus resumes own oil export in Apr 2020, 50,000 tonnes shipped to overseas consumers

 

MINSK, Jun 18 – PrimePress. Belarus resumed own oil export in Apr 2020, with 50,000 tonnes of crude exported, to compare with 130,000 tonnes exported per month on average in 2019, the National Statistics Committee of Belarus (Belstat) said in a statistical report.

 

As previously reported, in Jan-Mar 2020, Belarus suspended exports of its own oil, with was entirely redirected to domestic oil refineries (Mozyr MPZ, Gomel Oblast; Naftan, Novopolotsk, Vitebsk Oblast), which operated at 50% of the normal workload during that period.  Things have been that way in Belarus’ oil sector since late 2019, when Minsk failed to make contracts for 2020 with major Russian suppliers due to price disagreements. As a result, Belarusian refineries processed 2.9m tonnes of oil instead of the 5.9m tonnes planned for Q1 2020.

 

In value terms, Belarus’ proceeds from own crude oil export decreased by almost 8 times year on year in Apr 2020 to $5.37m, which was both due to a sharp decline in supplies and the average export price, which fell from $455.84 per tonne in Apr 2019 to $107.48 in Apr 2020.

 

State Oil Company Belorusneft (Rechitsa, Gomel Oblast) reduced oil production in Belarus by 1.8% year on year in April 2020 to 134,591 tonnes. Belorusneft plans to increase oil production by 1.18% year on year in 2020 to 1.7 million tonnes. End

 

 

Astravyets nuke plant to reach annual designed capacity of 18.5 billion kWh in 2023 – Belenergo

 

MINSK, Jun 18 – PrimePress. The Belarusian nuclear power plant (BelNPP, Astravyets, Grodno Oblast) will reach its designed capacity in 2023 and produce 18.5 billion kWh of electricity per year, says Belenergo Director General Pavel Drozd.

 

In his words, the Astravyets nuke plant is expected to reached its designed annual capacity in 2023, with 18.5 billion kWh of electric power generated per year, which will account for 42.8% of the country’s total electricity consumption in gross terms, the state-run information agency BelTA reports citing Pavel Drozd as saying.

 

In his words, a number of technical measures will be taken to maintain the balance of the country’s power capacity in conditions of an uneven daily schedule of electricity consumption after the BelNPP launch.

 

In particular, they plan to optimize the structure of the highly manoeuvrable power reserve, which should be at least 1200 MW. The reserve will be partly covered by the existing power generating facilities (up to 400 MW as it is now), and new energy sources on the basis of gas turbine units (about 800 MW) will be built.

 

These flexible energy sources will be designed to work in a manoeuvrable mode for about 12-16 hours, in order to activate additional equipment of the Belarusian power system.

 

In order to provide additional regulation and to compensate for the unevenness of the daily schedule of loads of the Belarusian power system, it is planned to install a system of electric boilers (up to 916 MW) at power plants and boiler houses, including batteries designed for night hours.

 

He also says that after launching two power units of BelNPP, when they reach their designed capacity, all heat power plants run by Belenergo will mainly produce thermal energy for consumers. End

 

 

Belarus due to set up 800 MW of peak-shaving facilities by late 2021 to address potential emergency at Astravyets nuke plant

 

MINSK, Jun 18 – PrimePress. By Nov-Dec 2021, Belarus plans to put into operation 800 MW of peak-shaving facilities intended to stabilize the power grid in case of emergency at the Belarusian nuclear power plant (BelNPP, Astravyets, Grodno Oblast), says Belenergo Director General Pavel Drozd.

 

In accordance with the 2025complex plan of electric power industry development, in the context of the launch of the Astravyets nuke plant, Belarus plans to build peak-shaving energy sources based on gas turbine units or gas piston units with a total capacity of 800 MW at four sites: Lukoml regional power station – 150 MW, Novopolotsk regional power station – 100 MW, Bereza regional power station – 250 MW and Minsk regional power station-5 – 300 MW. End

 

 

Belarus interested in exporting electricity to Latvia, Poland after Astravyets NPP launch

 

MINSK, Jun 18 – PrimePress. The state company Belenergo is interested in exporting electricity to Latvia and Poland after the launch of the Belarusian nuclear power plant (BelNPP, Astravyets, Grodno Oblast), says Belenergo Director General Pavel Drozd.

 

“After the launch of the Belarusian NPP, the export potential of the Belarusian energy system will increase significantly. Given Lithuania’s stance on banning electricity trade after the start of electricity production at the Belarusian NPP, Belenergo  shows an interest in developing mutually beneficial trade relations with Latvia, Poland and other countries, in particular, for the possibility of electricity exports,” the state-run information agency BelTA reports citing  Pavel Drozd as saying.

 

In his words, the analysis of electricity prices at the Polish exchange TGE shows that the Belarusian electric power from Belarus may be competitive on the Polish market at certain periods. “However, it is impossible to predict the dynamics of the price level at the Polish TGE exchange,” the Belenergo chief said.

 

In his words, the parties have already discussed various options for the construction of interstate power lines between Belarus and Latvia. Moreover, there is a two-chain 110 kV power line Brest-2 – Wulka-Dobrinska, which connects Belarus and Poland, and which was used in 2001-2008 for mutual trade in electricity, but now the construction of a DC insert is required to resume this exchange.

 

As previously reported, the Lithuanian government decided not to buy BelNPP electricity because of non-compliance with safety standards in the process of construction operations in Astravyets. Lithuania now seeks to ensure that a relevant declaration to boycott Astravyets electricity is signed by the governments of Latvia, Estonia and Poland. In early May, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania sent a note to Belarus with an appeal to suspend the launch of BelNPP and to organize the Belarusian National Action Plan to implement stress test recommendations at BelNPP under the supervision of EU experts, as well as to invite a group of international experts to ensure the monitoring process.

 

Belarus’ first nuclear power plant in Ostrovets (a town in the Grodno Region also referred to as Astravyets) will have two units with a combined capacity of up to 2,400 megawatts, which are slated to be launched in 2019 and 2020, respectively. The Belarusian nuclear station’s design stems from the AES-2006 design developed by the St Petersburg-based institute Atomenergoproject, which is also the general contractor of the Belarusian project. End

 

 

NBB’s currency rates as of Jun 19, 2020

 

MINSK, Jun 18 – PrimePress. The National Bank of Belarus (NBB) set on Jun 18 the following exchange rates of the Belarusian ruble (Br) against foreign currencies for Jun 19, 2020.

 

  Currency   Br
1 AUSTRALIAN DOLLAR AUD 1.6386
1 BULGARIAN LEV BGN 1.3701
100 UKRANIAN HRYVNA UAH 8.9042
10 DANISH KRONE DKK 3.5937
1 U.S. DOLLAR USD 2.3817
1 EURO EUR 2.6781
10 POLISH ZŁOTY PLN 6.0099
10,0000 IRANIAN RIAL IRR 5.6707
100 ICELAND KRONA ISK 1.7581
100 JAPANESE YEN JPY 2.2256
1 CANADIAN DOLLAR CAD 1.7590
10 CHINESE YUAN CNY 3.3638
1 KUWAITI DINAR KWD 7.7416
10 Moldovan Leu MDL 1.3807
1 New Zealand Dollar NZD 1.5374
10 NORWEGIAN KRONE NOK 2.5137
100 RUSSIAN RUBLE RUB 3.4281
1 SDR (Special Drawing Rights) XDR 3.2864
1 SINGAPORE DOLLAR SGD 1.7113
100 KIRGHIZ SOM KGS 3.1860
1,000 KAZAKH TENGE KZT 5.8821
10 TURKISH LIRAS TRY 3.4728
1 BRITISH POUND STERLING GBP 2.9758
100 CZECH KORUNA CZK 10.0621
10 SWEDISH KRONA SEK 2.5507
1 SWISS FRANK CHF 2.5094