Ukraine as Belarus’s window to Europe

Author : Mykola Holomsha

Source : 112 Ukraine

President of Belarus, probably, sees European vector of his country
09:54, 21 July 2017

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How does a person feel in the winter, when sitting near the fire? She feels warm in the front, while frost is freezing her back. For many years, President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko has been in this situation. On the one hand, Belarus has been under US sanctions for eleven years, and Trump has again extended them for another year. The European Union also continued the sanctions imposed on Belarus in the winter before February 28, 2018. First of all, they relate to the embargo on the arms trade, freezing of bank assets and the ban on entry into the European Union for a number of individuals.

Related: Lukashenko comes to Ukraine with official visit

On the other hand, "friendship" with Putin keeps the Belarusian leader in suspense all the time. The customs union did not justify itself, according to Lukashenko, the country, because of the unequal conditions of such an alliance, has lost $ 15 billion. "Brothers-Russians" give unprofitable credits. The accumulated debt to Russia for gas consumption is more than $ 700 million (which Minsk, by the way, does not recognize), which was the cause of the unresolved nature of the government delegations in the spring of this year. Against the background of gas misunderstandings, Russia is constantly threatening to reduce oil supplies. At the beginning of the year, without any warning, Russia decided to establish a border zone with Belarus, which contradicts all existing agreements between the two countries. However, Lukashenko cannot get off the "Russian orbit" at all.

It is necessary to pay tribute to the leader of Belarus that he holds a blow to all these bilateral diplomatic and economic clutches and conducts an independent state (as far as possible under such conditions).

Related: Poroshenko, Lukashenko meeting: which issues to be discussed

Trying to keep the situation under control, he always applies radical measures to the opposition. Europe systematically reminds him of political prisoners and last year, finally, Minsk has released them. But let us not forget about the OSCE's non-recognition of past presidential elections as free and fair. The country does not abolish the death penalty. In March of this year, on Freedom Day, several hundred people were detained in Minsk, who complained of being beaten by the police. Protests continue against the so-called "Decree on parasites" (according to the requirements of the document all non-working people must pay a special fee equivalent to 200 euros).

President of Belarus tries to compensate for internal problems by external factors. And recently he has succeeded to a certain extent. So, it was extremely successful to hold talks on Donbas in Minsk. So, he went out to the international level. He might consolidate this mini-success through deepening of relations with Ukraine, with which contacts at all levels have recently intensified. During the meeting of the two presidents - Poroshenko and Lukashenko - in April of this year in Minsk an arrangement was reached on elaborating a document on the resumption of production cooperation between enterprises. We are talking about agricultural machinery, automotive, power engineering, whose products are delivered to Ukrainian markets. The State Statistics Committee of Ukraine showed that among the trade partners of Ukraine the Republic of Belarus took the 2nd place among the CIS countries (after the Russian Federation) and the 7th among the countries of the world (after Russia, Germany, China, Poland, USA, and Turkey).

Related: Lukashenko suggests “energizing” Minsk negotiations on Donbas

During Lukashenko’s current visit to Kyiv, the parties would discuss development of political, trade-economic and humanitarian cooperation between the two countries. Undoubtedly, the situation in eastern Ukraine will also be considered, where for the fourth year we have been opposing the aggressor. And here it is quite possible to look for joint measures to confront the Kremlin. It is unlikely that these talks will become public, but such agreements could significantly strengthen the international positions of the two countries and weaken Muscovy.

President of Belarus, probably, sees the European vector of his country. And entering Europe through Ukraine is a good chance for Belarus.

Related: Lukashenko: Russia is not ready for the Union State

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