12 December 2019, Thursday, 0:51
The Wait Is Nearly Over

Andrei Sannikov: New President Of Ukraine Must Stop Lukashenka’s Business At War

Andrei Sannikov: New President Of Ukraine Must Stop Lukashenka’s Business At War
Andrei Sannikov

There are well-known re-export schemes of oil products derived from Russian oil from Belarus to Ukraine.

Ukraine must show a principled position towards the dictatorship and human rights violations, as well as recognize that the Belarusian leadership is condoning Russia and is benefiting from war. This opinion was expressed in the comments to UNN by the head of the European Belarus civil campaign, former presidential candidate, former deputy foreign minister, political prisoner Andrei Sannikov.

He notes that it is important not only for Ukrainians, but also for Belarus, that Ukraine maintains its course towards Europe and reaches the level of irreversibility of democracy and market transformations.

“In this regard, Belarus acts as a kind of “litmus paper” – one cannot demonstrate the desire for democracy only “for export” and at the same time support Lukashenka’s dictatorship, run a joint business with him, including the one in the war. A principled attitude to dictatorships, to the violation of human rights will be an indicator of the maturity of democracy in Ukraine,” – Sannikov believes.

The politician reminds that it is no secret that the official authorities of Belarus are allies of the Kremlin.

“Official Kiev should recognize the fact that NATO has long recognized: the Lukashenka regime is an ally of the Kremlin waging a war in Ukraine and with Ukraine. There’s nothing more to say. Besides, Lukashenka allows Belarus to use the territory of Russia for military maneuvers that threaten both Europe and Ukraine, he cynically profits from the war that Russia unleashed on the territory of Ukraine,” – the politician says, adding that a lot of Belarusian enterprises supply products to the territory of the isolated districts of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions and temporarily occupied Crimea, and the goods from these territories are freely sold in Belarus.

He reminds that no sanctions against Belarusian companies violating Ukrainian laws have been imposed by the Ukrainian authorities.

“There are well-known re-export schemes of oil products derived from Russian oil from Belarus to Ukraine. Russian experts explicitly say that the Russian ban on the oil and oil products export to Ukraine actually provides Belarus with unlimited opportunities to deploy re-export schemes. The danger is that due to such schemes, Ukraine is still tied to petroleum products from Russia, which can stop supply at any time or use other methods to cause damage to Ukraine. The recent deliveries of low-quality oil to Ukraine through Belarus can mean testing such methods. There are a lot of examples of shady business schemes which are in play between Belarus and Ukraine, including the ones which are meant to bypass international and Ukrainian sanctions imposed against the Kremlin,” – Sannikov says.

He notes that as a result of introducing various sanctions and the embargo by Russia against Europe, Belarus had become the largest smuggling center in the region, and the Ukrainian side is also involved in this.

“It helps Lukashenka’s regime and certain businessmen in Ukraine, but it doesn’t agree with Ukrainian national interests and their protection,” – the opposition member explains.

I think that Lukashenka will be striving to establish possible relations with the new president in order to preserve his “gray business” as quickly as possible, will play the role of an ally and mediator, in fact helping the Kremlin to achieve its goals in Ukraine. Surely, the voices of Western “useful idiots”, advising to support Lukashenka because of the “difficult geopolitical situation will be heard. I hope that not only the new president, but also the new government will work in cooperation rather than confrontation, will not succumb to the tricks of the experienced intriguer Lukashenka and show political will in relations with Belarus. The main thing in this relationship is to understand that Lukashenka does not represent the Belarusian people, nobody elected him and it does not behove for the democratically elected president of Ukraine to stoop to the dictator's level.

Today, it is Ukraine that is at the forefront of the struggle for freedom in our region. Your freedom, independence and democratic development are our future. I will not resort to vague and general wording: I wish Ukraine an early victory in the war with Russia, the return of all the occupied and annexed territories.