A welder repairs part of the oil pipeline outside the Romanovka village, 230km southeast of the Belarusian capital Minsk. (Photo: Sputnik)

International news

Belarus has announced unscheduled maintenance of the "Friendship" pipeline transporting oil from Russia via Belarus to a number of EU countries, RT news agency reported. According to Belarus, the repair will take approximately three days.

Russia's leading energy export group Transneft said the move could cause short-term disruption. Transneft spokesman Igor Demin said he has received "maintenance" notices which are expected to be completed by the end of this week.

Belarusian operator Gomeltransneft Druzhba said the work began late Tuesday evening and will temporarily reduce oil supplies to the EU. But Belarusian officials insist that monthly oil exports will not be affected and will meet delivery quotas.

The Friendship Pipeline connects the oil fields of central Russia to Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Germany.