Belarus threatens to choke off EU gas supply over border dispute
Alexander Lukashenko (Belarusian President) attends meeting in Moscow with Vladimir Putin, Russian counterpart September 9, 2021.
Mikhail Voskresensky | Kremlin Sputnik | via Reuters
Belarus threatened to stop gas supplies to Europe from transit if sanctions are imposed by the EU for a crisis at its west border.
Russian-backed President Alexander Lukashenko has been accused by the bloc weaponizing the thousands of people currently gatheredBelarus has denied that it was involved in the establishment of freezing camps near Poland’s border, to disrupt domestic political pressures as well as undermine EU security.
Lukashenko stated that Russia may cut supplies along the Yamal Europe pipeline to Russia in an emergency cabinet meeting. The EU is apparently planning a new round of sanctions.
According to reports, the strongman leader who is in control since 1994 told cabinet ministers that “We heat Europe” and was still threatening them with closing the borders.
“And what if you cut off?” [the transit of]They should be able to get natural gas. Therefore, I recommend to the leaders of Poland and Lithuania that they think before speaking.
Natural gas prices spiked by almost 7%Following Lukashenko’s remarks, Thursday.
Most of these migrants come from Syria, Iraq and Yemen. On Friday, Belavia, Belarus’s state airline, stated that it will no longer allow citizens of all three countries on flights between Turkey and Belarus. This was at the request from the Turkish authorities.
According to reports, Belavia may be subject to EU sanctions. There are also questions about whether the EU could expand to include Russian Aeroflot and Turkish Airlines.
The EU member states of the U.N. Security Council, along with U.S., U.K., and Albania condemned “orchestrated instrumentisation of human beings whose life and wellbeing were put in danger by Belarus for political purposes with the goal of destabilizing neighboring countries and the European Union’s external border and diverting focus away from its increasing violations of human rights.”
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Experts disagree on Minsk’s determination and whether it will lead to drastic policy actions. This is largely dependent on Lukashenko, a long-time friend, as well as the strategic priorities set by Vladimir Putin, Russia’s President.
Timothy Ash, Bluebay Asset Management’s senior emerging market sovereign strategist, stated that the situation “looks set for further escalation.”
Ash wrote in an email that Putin would love to see the energy transit through Belarus interrupted, and he could put it on Lukashenko while increasing pressure on Europe.”
“It would also give him a pretext to formally intervene in Belarus itself — Russian planes already seem to be patrolling now to secure Belarus borders with NATO.”
BELARUS, November 12 – Many irregular migrants face desperate circumstances as they wait at the Polish-Belarusian frontier, in hopes of crossing onto EU soil.
Stringer/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
Ash stated that Ash felt the current path of travel was “a little like slow motion in relation to actual conflicts in Europe.”
According to the Belarusian defense minister, two Russian strategic-bomber jets also flew overhead Belarus during a training mission.
Let them scream, squeak. According to Lukashenko, these are capable bombers that can be used nuclear weapons, and we don’t have any other option.” He reportedly stated Thursday.
He said that Belarus’ Defense Ministry and its border troops were being deployed along with the state security “to control the movement of NATO troops to Poland”.
According to the president, “You already can see 15,000 troops and tanks, armored vehicle, helicopters, and planes brought to this border without any warning.” Belarusian government readout
Emre Perker, the director of Eurasia Group’s Europe team, stated that Lukashenko’s threat to interrupt gas flows in Europe is unlikely because of Russian opposition and revenue restrictions.
Russia depends on the transit through Belarus in order to fulfill European contracts. Peker explained that Gazprom’s market position would be harmed if the pipeline is shut down. This will increase Russian supply stability concerns.
Lukashenko could also lose $300 million annually in transit revenues due to the halting of gas flows. This is more than Belarus can afford.
Peker pointed out that the figure was comparable to June’s economic impact from EU sanctions on Belarus’s potash and oil exports and would be “greatly greater than the probable effect of new EU sanctions.”
He said that although the EU would not be able to target Aeroflot and Turkish Airlines with sanctions, diplomatic, legal, and commercial challenges could prevent them from doing so. But, Brussels will most likely strike Belavia for quick sanction against Belarus.