No Unification With Russia, Oil Via Baltics And Other Issues Belarus President Talked With Govt Today

The talks about the unification of Belarus and Russia are ungrounded, and the two countries can only be partners, Alexander Lukashenko said on Thursday, 10 January.

Belarus president discussed social-economic development for 2019 and integration processes with the government.

Photo: press service of the president of Belarus

According to Alexander Lukashenko, there has been much speculation about the union of Belarus and Russia. A lot of it arose because of the situation around Orthodox Church in Ukraine. “I believe these questions are exceedingly stupid and far-fetched for the purpose of discussion in our society,” Alexander Lukashenko is quoted by the press-service.

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The Belarusian leader underlined there can be no talk about the two countries becoming one. “I and the president of Russia have determined that there is no such ussie as unification on the agenda today.”

However, he recalled the unended processes of the creation of the Union State (a supranational union, also referred to as the Union State of Russia and Belarus – note BelarusFeed) which were also brought up during the talks with Russia’s Vladimir Putin.

The union between Belarus and Russia can develop only on an equal basis. “No equality – no unification,” Alexander Lukashenko concluded.

Recall, the last time the heads of Belarus and Russia held talks on 29 December. The meeting lasted for several hours but wasn’t followed by any official statements. December’s talks were the third meeting of the Belarus and Russia presidents in one month.

New routes for oil

Belarus should find alternative routes for oil imports. That was another task set by the president for the government on Thursday.

At present, Belarus is purchasing 18 million tons of oil from Russia for subsequent processing at Mazyr and Navapolatsk oil refineries.

“I have set the task a long time ago, and we need to solve it. Open an alternative supply of oil through the Baltic ports,” Alexander Lukashenko instructed the ministers.

“If the Lithuanians do not agree, talk to Latvians and buy this oil. Process it at the Navapolatsk  oil refinery and supply the Baltic states.”

Belarus president believes such an agreement would be beneficial for Belarus’ neighbors as well since the Belarusian oil products will be cheaper for the Baltic countries than the oil products from world producers.

The country had earlier made attempts to find an alternative to Russian oil. Small shipments were negotiated with Venezuela, Azerbaijan, and Iran. However, the duty-free Russian oil turned out cheaper.

Compensation for Russia’s tax maneuver

Alexander Lukashenko called to avoid hyperbolizing Belarus’ losses from the so-called tax maneuver (these will amount to $400 million in 2019 with the price of oil at 70 dollars per barrel – note BelarusFeed).

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The president believes Belarus should find other reliable ways to earn this money for the budget.

“Not at the cost of the population,” Alexander Lukashenko warned.

Belarus and Russia had previously discussed the compensation, but the talks stalked at some point.

At the end of 2018, two working groups were established to continue work in that direction. Russia is represented by the Minister for Economic Development Maxim Oreshkin; Belarus by the Minister of Economy Dmitry Krutoy.