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contamination@ (Adds comments, detail)
MINSK, May 2 (Reuters) - Belarus said on Thursday that clean oil had reached it via the Druzhba pipeline from Russia, after several countries suspended such imports due to contamination.
Poland, Germany, Ukraine, Slovakia and other countries halted Russian oil imports via the pipeline last week after finding contaminants that could damage refinery equipment.
Russian President Vladimir Putin called the incident damaging for Russia's image as a safe energy supplier, while pipeline monopoly Transneft said the oil had been contaminated deliberately.
A spokesman for Belarusian state oil firm Belneftekhim confirmed clean oil had arrived but reiterated that the company expected it to reach the Mozyr refinery, one of the country's two oil plants, no earlier than May 4.
Druzhba can pump up to 1 million barrels per day (bpd), amounting to 1 percent of global crude demand. In total, Russia is exporting around 4 million bpd and other destinations in the south, northwest and east are unaffected, traders have said.
A long outage could force refineries in Eastern Europe and Germany to cut operations and prompt Moscow to reduce oil production. It could also trigger claims by Western oil buyers against Russian producers and pipeline monopoly Transneft for lost profits as they struggle to sell contaminated oil.
(Reporting by Andrei Makhovsky; Writing by Vladimir Soldatkin; Editing by Dale Hudson and Jason Neely)