Ukraine’s ambassador Igor Kizim said that if the information from “Belsat” investigation about the trade between Belarus and the LPR and DPR was confirmed, the Belarusian companies would be put on the “black list” in Ukraine. Ukrainian and Belarusian experts believe that official Kyiv is ready to take this step.
Igor Kizim told BelaPAN that the Belarusian enterprises that supply their products directly to militants in the DPR and LPR will be sanctioned and they would not be able to supply their products to Ukraine. The Ambassador added that the official Kyiv will try to get these sanctions supported by the European Union, too.
According to the “Belsat TV” investigation, products of dozens of Belarusian companies gets to the separatists via the Russia-Ukraine border, which is not controlled by the official Kyiv. A number of companies do not even hide the fact of direct deliveries to Donetsk and Luhansk. Belarusian factories produce beer and vodka under the brand names of DPR companies, whose owners are suspected of financing terrorism in Ukraine.
“I believe that the probability of sanctions against Belarusian companies engaged in illegal trade with the separatists is very high,” Kyiv political scientist and director of the “Penta” Center for Applied Political Studies Volodymyr Fesenko told Belsat TV. “Belarusians should understand that in this case we are not talking about some kind of an unfriendly act in relation to Belarus. It’s just a question of principle. Ukraine stands for the development of friendly relations with Belarus, but there are issues on which the position is very tough. This is a signal to all the others, there is a “red line.” If Belarusian companies want to work on the Ukrainian market, they have to make a choice — either you work with Ukraine, or you’re working with the breakaway republics.”
Mr Fesenko did not know how informed the official Kyiv was about the trade between Belarus and the LPR and DPR before the investigation of “Belsat”, but he is sure that the publication of these facts will encourage the Ukrainian authorities to take decisive steps.
“Government agencies often operate on the bureaucratic principle. Perhaps, they did receive some information, but there has been no resonance and appropriate action taken, officials did not want to take responsibility for a specific initiative — what if it could harm bilateral relations. I think there was no political motivation, but a simple bureaucratic “be on the safe side” logic in place. And since now the information is public, we must react,” believes the expert.
Belarusian political analyst Andrei Fyodarau believes that the Ukrainian sanctions against Belarusian enterprises are possible. But at the same time he notes that the official Kyiv may avoid this step.
“If there was something more criminal from the Ukrainian point of view, if we were talking about some strategic resources, then the sanctions would be necessary. But the food issue is still doubtful, because there also live the citizens of Ukraine. As for the EU sanctions, this scenario seems highly unlikely. I have not heard of such precedents in relation to other countries,” he said.
Ihar Ilyash, belsat.eu