There’s another scandal between the Kremlin and Drazdy.
The Belarusian Foreign Ministry has harshly criticized recent statements by Russian ambassador Mikhail Babich, and the diplomat himself was called the “bookkeeper” and the “budding accountant,” Radio Svaboda reports.
The representative of the Belarusian Foreign Ministry, Anatol Hlaz, commenting on Babich’s interview to RIA Novosti, has said that relations between Russia and Belarus are much deeper than the “gamed set of numbers”, which, as he puts it, the Russian ambassador “seizes hold of”. He recommended Babich to devote more time to “getting the sense of the country of stay, to get acquainted with its history and show some respect”. The representative of the Foreign Ministry of Belarus believes that Babich, who previously held the post of plenipotentiary president of Russia in the Volga Federal District, has not yet understood the difference between the federal district and the independent state.
Mikhail Babich himself has responded by saying: “Apparently, this is the top of the diplomatic school, which was mentioned in this commentary.” Commenting on Hlaz’s statement, the Russian ambassador stresses that the main thing is to “evaluate the arguments of both the Russian side and the Belarusian side objectively” and work out a “mutually acceptable solution”.
On March 14, RIA Novosti published an interview with Babich, in which he, in particular, speaks about the underestimation of the “real contribution of Russia to the development of the Belarusian economy,” as well as the possibility of improving the conditions for granting Russian loans to Belarus and gas supplies to Belarus at Russian prices. The Russian ambassador also says that it would be “strange” for Moscow to pay Minsk for the deployment of military facilities in Belarus. He also claims that the increase in trade with the EU is achieved due to the sale of petroleum products made from Russian oil and the resale of Russian coal to Ukraine.
Earlier, Lukashenka called “nonsense” all the talks about the fact that Russia “feeds” Belarus. Later he said that the process of Eurasian integration “is taking a turn back, if it has not already turned,” and the lack of concrete work on overcoming the disagreement with Russia is replaced by a certain “digital agenda.” According to Lukashenka, Belarus has recently been developing relations with the European Union, which, in turn, “causes some kind of allergy and, sometimes, hysteria” in Russia. However, according to the Belarusian ruler, it was Russia’s actions that led to the fact that Minsk was forced to expand cooperation with the West: “They do not allow our products on the market, they call up freeloaders, push us out, press us wherever it is possible,” – Lukashenka said. At that, Lukashenka noted that if economic relations with Russia were “normal”, there would be no need for agreements with the EU either.
Lukashenka’s criticism sounds against the background of reports that have been spreading since the end of last year, that Moscow increases the pressure, seeking deeper integration, right up to the inclusion of Belarus into Russia in one form or another. Lukashenka himself says that the sovereignty of the country is not being discussed. At the same time, the Belarusian dictator confirms that his country is still committed to the idea of a “union state” with Russia, but only on equal terms.