Belarus is again between the rock and the heard place, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said on Jan 14, while commenting on the situation caused by changes in the rules of trade among Ukraine, the EU and Russia.
BELTA quotes him as saying that Belarus is now between two big economic players (the EU and Russia). “And this will certainly affect our foreign economic activities. We should decide how to act. First of all, we should meet our obligations to Russia in the framework of the Eurasian Economic Union,” Lukashenko said.
He said that Belarus was not going to turn away from Ukraine. “If we do, we will lose as much as $5bn-6bn. Russia has not asked us to do it. It just wants this process to be transparent,” the Belarusian president said.
He said that Belarus had the right to process Ukrainian products and to supply them to Russia. “We have agreements with Russia. If a product is Belarusian, we have the right to supply it,” Lukashenko said.
As EADaily reported earlier, Lukashenko is concerned about Russia’s decision to cancel free trade with Ukraine. “We may face a situation when Ukrainian products will be replaced with European ones and will surge into our territory. We are also concerned to see that EU products are being supplied to Ukraine at zero rates and are being distributed all over the CIS. We are now considering how to act so as to support our ally, Russia,” Lukashenko said.
In the meantime, Belarus has lifted all restrictions from its trade with Ukraine, this also referring to the special 39.2% duty imposed by Ukraine on some Belarusian products, reports the press service of the Belarusian Foreign Ministry.
Some experts warn that the Belarusians are supplying Russia with smuggled food from the EU. Now that they have free trade with Ukraine, they may do the same with Ukrainian food.