Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation Alexander Novak has announced the transportation of Belarusian oil products through Russian ports. The issue of reorienting the export of oil products from the ports of the Baltic countries to Russian ports arose against the background of a sharp deterioration in relations between the EU and the regime of Alyaksandr Lukashenka after the 2020 elections.
In an interview with RBC, Novak said:
“It is quite possible that in 2021 [Belarusians] may already [supply] part of the volumes <…> in accordance with the agreements and current issues that are being worked out between the companies. In my opinion, 2021 is a very realistic time frame when they can already start”.
Novak said earlier that Russia is discussing the redirection of 4-6 million tons of Belarusian oil products from Lithuania to Russian ports.
“Today we have free capacities of seaports for transshipment of oil products. If we create mutually beneficial economic conditions, it would be possible to work with our Belarusian colleagues to load more Russian ports,” he said.
First of all, we are talking about the north – western ports – Primorsk, St. Petersburg and Ust-Luga.
In August 2020, Alyaksandr Lukashenka threatened to show Lithuania “what sanctions are”. “I instructed the government to submit a proposal to reorient all trade flows from Lithuanian ports to others. So we’ll see how they will get by. Currently, 30% of the Lithuanian budget is formed by our cargo traffic through Lithuania. What else do they need? They got lazy. Therefore, we will put them in place,” he said.
In turn, the Lithuanian Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis said that the refusal to transit goods through the ports of Lithuania would primarily hit Belarus itself.
In December, the British subsidiary of the Belarusian oil company BNK (UK) Limited suspended the transshipment of oil products through the Klaipeda state port of Lithuania.