Russia cut the amount of exported crude to the Czech Republic twice last week, which made the country use its owns state crude reserves. Russia started the reduction of shipments immediately after the Czech authorities signed an agreement to deploy a US radar station in the country. Czech media assumed that the reduction of fuel shipments became Russia’s response to the decision.
Czech Industry and Trade Minister Martin Riman stated Friday night that it would be too childish of Russia to show such a reaction to the US-Czech radar agreement. Additionally, the part of the Czech population, which does not support the radar station in their country, will most likely be very unhappy about the reduction of oil shipments, the minister added.
Russia has not released any official statement in connection with the US-Czech agreement yet. Russian and Czech officials will meet to discuss the current state of affairs on July 14.
Spokespeople for Unipetrol, the largest oil-processing company of the Czech Republic, told Interfax that the problem had been caused with technical difficulties. Officials of the company described the reduction of crude shipments as a short-term failure in the work of Russian partners, which would not lead to either oil shortage or price growth on fuel.
Instead of 500,000 tons, stipulated by the contract, the republic will receive less than 300,000 tons in July. “We re in contact with Russia and other partners. There will be no problems for us and we have opportunities to receive oil from Western Europe,” the press secretary of the Czech Foreign Ministry, Zuzana Opletalova told reporters.
The state oil reserves of the republic – 916,000 tons - will be able to keep the nation’s economy running for 95 days.
Russian officials said that Russia would respond to Czech Republic’s decision to sign the radar agreement with the USA. Spokespeople for the Foreign Affairs Ministry of Russia pointed out that it would be a technical, not a diplomatic response. “Russia will have to take adequate measures to compensate the potential of dangers threatening its national security,” an official said.