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Belarus Watch Thread

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#1
SkittleBlu

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Lukashenko reassures EU that Belarus is a ‘reliable partner’

 

 

Belarusian President Aleksander Lukashenko has been reassuring the European Union that he remains committed to the Eastern Partnership amidst ongoing reports of ever-closer ties with Russia.

 
“We think that neighbours are given by God, they cannot be chosen and that is why it is necessary to develop ties with them. And because of that we will always be a reliable partner of the European Union,” said Mr Lukashenko.
 
Speaking in Minsk at the start of a fresh round of negotiations with EU Commissioner for Budget and Human Resources, Gunther Oettinger, Mr Lukashenko stressed that “there always have been and always will be [problems], but they are certainly not of a chronic nature and should be resolved.”
 
“The European Union and Belarus have made good progress on a number of initiatives in the bilateral relationship over the last three years,” Mr Oettinger added.

 

https://emerging-eur...liable-partner/

 

Comes after Lukashenko said his country was ready to “unite” with Russia. Belarus is a vulnerable country caught in the middle of tensions between Russia and the West. It therefore can’t lean too heavily on one side. But how much longer can it maintain this delicate balancing act?



#2
PhoenixRu

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Lukashenko reassures EU that Belarus is a ‘reliable partner’

 

At the same time:

 

Lukashenko expressed concerns about the possible deployment of medium-range and shorter-range missiles in Europe

 

The President noted that the relevant topic was discussed during his meeting with President Vladimir Putin... 

 

Alexander Lukashenko stressed that he believes that Russian side did not violated the agreement...

 

As for the potential threat to Belarus, the President stressed that "this is a catastrophe, especially for us... "

 

“I’m afraid Americans will seize the moment - they have already broken this treaty and they will deploy rockets in Europe. Therefore, we will have to think about the response measures together with Russia. There’s no way to escape this...”

 

The president expressed the opinion that NATO will still deploy such missiles in Europe: "It seems to me that even though the NATO declares that they are not going to deploy these missiles in Europe, this is just a bluff. Otherwise, why was this agreement to be destroyed? It was necessary to negotiate to connect China (to the agreement) if it was about China."



#3
eacao

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(YouTube) China In The Intermarium: The Ukraine and Belarus Connections

 

Institute of World Politics (IWP) presentation on China's activities in Eastern Europe. 

 

https://www.youtube....h?v=kvgU8FNa8oM


If you're going through hell, keep going. - Winston Churchill

You don't decide your future. You decide your habits, and your habits decide your future.
Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power. - Abraham Lincoln.


#4
SkittleBlu

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Belarus’ Strategic Solitude

 

 

WARSAW: Over the past two decades, relations between Russia and Belarus have been in constant flux. Both countries share a Soviet legacy and strong ethnic ties, but these have not stopped them from playing hard ball with each other. Moscow and Minsk have developed deep interdependence, and main bones of contention usually encompass business and military matters.

 
Throughout 2018, Belarusian-Russian tensions over energy issues resulted in belligerent rhetoric from both sides. Today the problem focuses on a new tax regime for oil introduced by Russia. This tax maneuver would cost the Belarusian economy billions of dollars and President Alexander Lukashenko is concerned about serious internal perturbations undermining his authoritarian grip over the nation of about 10 million people. Lukashenko has been president since 1994.
 
Russia offers an alternative solution, or ultimatum, as some observers argue. A deal would coerce Belarus into deeper integration with Moscow and, in return, Russian subsidies for Minsk would be kept intact. President Vladimir Putin met with his Belarusian counterpart twice in December and again in February to discuss the divergent positions: In sum, Russia concentrates on restricting Belarus’ foreign policy while lowering the alliance's costs for the Kremlin’s budget while Minsk pushes for greater independence and more non-returnable loans.
 
With this latest episode in a series of Russia-Belarus disputes, it is increasingly evident that Belarus lacks reliable partners and alliances even as it shares borders with four countries besides Russia – Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Ukraine. The West has had difficulties dealing with the regime still deemed authoritarian, one demonstrating little respect for civil liberties and human rights. Russia for its part often treats Minsk instrumentally, applying pressure and striking convenient bargains with Lukashenko as needed. Consequently, Lukashenko has skillfully pursued a multi-vector foreign policy.
 
The 2013/2014 revolution in Ukraine, annexation of Crimea, and the war in Donbas were milestones that again altered Minsk’s relations with Moscow and the West. After these destabilizing events in its direct neighborhood, Belarus issued a statement calling for peace, and the government has not recognized Crimea as Russian territory.
 
In the years that followed the crisis in Ukraine, Belarusian authorities have stressed neutrality as a fundamental tenet of the country’s foreign policy – this can only be a quick fix that neither facilitates relations with the European Union and the United States nor satisfies the Kremlin. Still, the strategy is efficient, considering that the Lukashenko regime’s overriding goal is self-preservation. Neutrality does not enlarge Minsk’s circle of friends, but as the prime objective is to exert lucrative concessions from both Moscow and the West, the approach is relatively successful.
 
Lukashenko has played Russia and the West off one another for the past 25 years. He reverts to public diplomacy any time his economic or political interests are endangered and repeatedly accuses Moscow of using coercion to convince Minsk to further integration. During the 2018 state-of-the-nation address, he said that strained relations with Moscow would not stop Belarus from seeking cooperation with Brussels and Washington.

 

https://www.realclea...ude_112977.html



#5
SkittleBlu

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Belarus leader seeks better ties with West despite Russian 'hysterics'

 

 

MINSK (Reuters) - Belarus will seek better ties with the West even though this provokes “hysterics” from its traditional ally Russia, long-serving President Alexander Lukashenko said on Tuesday, a day after lifting a cap of five U.S. diplomats in his country.

 
Belarus is trying to improve ties with the West after a number of disputes with Moscow, which has announced cuts to subsidies that have long kept the country of 9.5 million people in Russia’s orbit.
 
Lukashenko’s comments suggested he had not ironed out differences with Russia’s Vladimir Putin after several meetings, including on a Russian tax change which Belarus says will cost its budget $400 million this year.
 
Speaking of NATO and the EU at a government meeting, Lukashenko said, “We should talk to them, we should not look at them as enemies.
 
“Ideally, the western and eastern directions of Belarusian foreign policy should balance each other,” he said, as quoted by the state news agency BelTA.
 
Belarus cooperating with the West “causes some kind of allergic reaction and sometimes hysterics from our main partner the Russian Federation,” Lukashenko said. “The question is, why are you being hysterical?”

 

https://www.reuters....s-idUSKCN1QM1Q2

 

Belarus is trying to reach out to the West, but its continued dependency on Russia means it can't stray too far.



#6
Sciencerocks

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Russia May Absorb Belarus: 'We're Ready to Unite,' President Says

Source: Newsweek



The president of Belarus has said the country is ready to unite with long-time ally Russia, raising the prospect of Moscow absorbing the eastern European dictatorship on the borders of Poland and Lithuania.

President Alexander Lukashenko, who has ruled the former Soviet state since the presidential post was created in 1994, said Friday his nation was ready to join with Russia, The Moscow Times reported.

Lukashenko made the comments on the third and final day of bilateral talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Rumors have long abounded that Belarus could be absorbed into Russia under Putin’s watch, deepening the “union state” arrangement that has existed between them since the late 1990s.

 

Read more: https://www.newsweek...ashenko-1333800







Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: Belarus, Eastern Europe, Russia, EU, NATO, Poland

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