“There will be hell to pay”. Lukashenka retaliating for teddy bears?

Aliaksandr Lukashenka has announced his intention to redirect transit volumes from Baltic countries to ports of the Leningrad Region, state-owned news agency BelTA reports.

“Russian president Vladimir Putin and I were thoroughly discussing the subject at our last meeting. We adopted a critical decision on redirecting large volumes of goods including potassium fertilizers from ports of Baltic states to your ports. We should deliberately explore the issue,” the Belarusian president said at the meeting with Alexander Drozdenko, governor of the Leningrad Region.

Mr Drozdenko expressed his hope for “imposing fair tariffs”. But will our country benefit from such a step?

Is Belarus trying to revenge on Lithuania?

Profits from transit through sea ports make up a considerable fraction of revenue of the Lithuanian state budget, Belarus being one of core customers.

The neighbouring country might have play a role of official Minsk’s advocate in the European Union, Vilnius-Minsk relations remain at a low ebb. After the teddy bear troop drop the situation worsened: the Swedish pilots took off a Lithuania airdrome, crossed the state border and came back. Although the Belarusian Prosecutor’s office was seeking official Vilnius’ aid in the investigation of the incident Lithuanian law enforcement officers actually rebuffed them.

In August 2012 Aliaksandr Lukashenka who was indignant at the immediate situation, called Lithuania “not to stay as still as a mouse”. “They must tell us why they made free of their territory for the violation of the state border. As for Lithuania, there will be hell to pay,” the head of state stressed.



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