Session with senior officials of Council of Minsters

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Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko compared certain actions of Russian partners aimed at closing the market for Belarus with sanctions. He made the statement at the session with the economic bloc of the government on 11 April.

“When I received a list of questions I was surprised by one thing: in recent time (maybe, mass media are lying or I get deceptive information) I’ve heard and read every day that our major trade partner (they like to call themselves partners) introduce more and more sanctions against Belarus,” the head of state said. “They are under sanctions and condemn them, and I am absolutely on their side in this regard. And at the same time they are 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,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

As an example he mentioned what the Belarusian side did a year or 18 months ago when specialists reported that an oil pipeline and an oil product pipeline running through Belarus are in disrepair. “We needed to close those pipelines for a couple of days to repair them. But we did not do it. We understood that it would affect the Russian Federation. Back then I gave an instruction to work in an emergency mode without closing those pipelines meant for the transportation of oil, which is a major export product of the Russian Federation,” the Belarusian leader said.

In his words, this issue is now on the agenda. Addressing Deputy Prime Minister Igor Lyashenko, Aleksandr Lukashenko said: “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.”

The President also reproached the government’s stance on the situation with the deliveries to Russia: “Well, the vice premier [obviously, this pertains to newly appointed Deputy Prime Minister Vladimir Dvornik who is in charge of the agricultural industry and the export of foodstuffs] was appointed a few days ago and did not have enough time to probe deep into the matter. But we have the prime minister, the first vice premier, and you should be in the know as well.”

“We must take corresponding measures instead of turning the other cheek. Look into the matter and report to me next week,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

According to the head of state, during the session he would like to listen to the government’s point of view on this major issue connected with the work with Russian partners.