Belarusian Foreign Minister Uladzimir Makey has told the Russian Kommersant about the incident with the plane, confrontation with the West, and integration with Russia.
On the countries’ reaction to the Ryanair hijacking
There has been a certain negative surge of political emotions in a number of European countries with regard to Belarus, which by its intensity exceeds even the level of last August. Our partners, while preaching the rule of law, have departed from such an approach this time. If any incident takes place, in this case, the incident with the plane, an investigation must be carried out in order to draw any conclusions. We are ready for such an investigation, with the participation of international experts, ICAO experts. By the way, the ICAO Council was held on May 27th, and a number of countries supported the investigation.
About the detention of Pratasevich and Sapega
The detention of these two citizens took place after they had gone through customs and border control on the flight back from Minsk after the inspection of the plane. So there is absolutely no connection. I think there is an attempt to artificially tie this kind of thing to the landing of the plane after the receipt of the notification about the bombing.
On the protests
Frankly speaking, I cannot understand the actions of a certain category of people who benefited from the current government, who were allowed to vacation in the Maldives or other luxury resorts, and yet came out to protest against this “regime”.
Yes, there were some mistakes, but these were not, in my opinion, the mistakes that could have been, as it is fashionable to say now, the trigger for these not mass, but protests of a certain part of the population that happened in August.
At a certain stage, to please its patrons, Ukraine decides to suspend relations with Belarus and introduces a number of restrictions on supplies of our goods; it cancels the tenders that we have won – we had to supply 100 buses to Lviv, I think. We will take adequate measures for exactly the amount we have lost.
About the integration
I would not like to reveal the inner workings of the negotiations, there are disputes. I think the positions will be reconciled and we will be able to find completely acceptable solutions to the remaining points of contention.
About the U.S. ambassador
Well, the U.S. ambassador, before she starts working in Minsk, should have thought about what kind of baggage she is coming here with or should come here. She met with everyone, made a huge number of negative statements about Belarus and its leadership, and after that she expects us to welcome her with open arms?
We take very seriously the statements that the fourth package of sanctions against a number of sensitive industries of our economy is planned. We will respond to these things to offset the sanctions. I cannot say right now what these measures will be, but we have great experience of living under sanctions, and we see how some countries are still living under sanctions today: take Iran, for example, and take the economic blockade of Cuba. We would not want the situation to escalate any further, but we believe that we must stand firm in this situation.