Lukashenka slams ‘sanctions’, threatens Russia with closing oil pipelines in Belarus

phot. Planet Pix/ZUMA Wire/Forum

Alyaksandr Lukashenka has compared Russia’s ‘certain actions’ to sanctions during Thursday’s governmental session.

According to the president, he has repeatedly come across reports and news that are indicative of Russia’s introducing more and more ‘sanctions’ on Belarus. Lukashenka might condemn the EU’s restrictions slapped on Russia, but now he seems to be outraged about the Kremlin’s using ‘the same weapon against their closest allies’.

“They closed one enterprise, then another enterprise. Then they did not like carrot, lettuce, or cucumbers, or things like that. There are suspicions that we deliver things from wrong places. And our enterprises are closed every day. They are closing the market for us,” state-run news agency BelTA quotes Lukashenka as saying.

A day earlier, Rosselkhoznadzor, Russia’s Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Supervision, announced imposing temporary restrictions on the imports of apples and pears from Belarus.

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He stressed that the Belarusian side had also taken Russian interests into account referring to the situation that happened in 2017. According to him, although they faced the need to close an oil pipeline and an oil product pipeline running through Belarus for a couple of days to repair them, but Belarusian specialists managed to put everything to rights by working in an emergency mode, and, as a result, no closure was necessary and the Russian Federation could continue transporting oil which is their ‘major export product’.

“If you need to repair pipelines running through Belarus, do it. It seems that the good things we are doing for Russia turn into evil for us. Some people there have gone too far trying to twist our arms,” Alyksandr Lukashenka said when addressing Deputy Prime Minister Ihar Lyashenka.

He tasked the top official with sorting out the situation and reporting to him the following week. In his opinion, Belarus should not turn the other cheek to those who has fetched a slap once.

The Kremlin has immediately provided a response. they cannot agree with president Lukashenka who called the closure of the Russian market for several goods from Belarus – ‘sanctions’, presidential spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told news agency TASS. However, he admitted to existing ‘certain topics of commercial nature’ on which the sides have not agreed yet.

At the end of 2018, the Belarusian-Russian relations significantly deteriorated. In late December. there were some meetings of Alyaksandr Lukashenka and Vladimir Putin. The Russian leader pressed for ‘further integration’ while his Belarusian counterpart insisted on reducing gas prices and getting compensation for the tax maneuver. The talks seem to have ended in deadlock.

In mid February, Lukashenka spent three days in Sochi where he repeatedly met with Vladimir Putin. They were reported to be discussing some of the most pressing issues, but no breakthrough was made.

Belarusian top official have repeatedly criticized the current state of the Eurasian integration stating that Russia keeps pursuing its own interests.

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