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Belorussian pipeline back online in August

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MINSK, Belarus, July 23 (UPI) -- Maintenance to a Belarusian leg of the Unecha-Ventspils oil pipeline from Russia to Latvia will be completed in time for an Aug. 5 resumption of operations.

Belarus shut down its section of the pipeline for regular maintenance this week. Minsk denied the suspension was linked to a decision by Russia to ban meat imports on health concerns.

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The two countries had engaged in a bitter regulatory row earlier this year over dairy products, which bring Belarus around $1 billion in annual revenue.

Moscow said the pipeline should resume operations in August following the completion of scheduled maintenance, RIA Novosti reports.

"The start-up of the pipe is scheduled for Aug. 5, when the scheduled works are due to be completed," a government statement said.

Belarus and Russia share an interest in the construction of a second leg of the Yamal-Europe gas pipeline, which Minsk says could bring gas to Europe within the next two years.

Yamal-Europe transits more than 1,200 miles across Russia, Belarus, Poland and Germany. The capacity of the first leg is around 1.2 trillion cubic feet of natural gas each year.

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