Awkward steps and statements deepen the conflict with a fair amount of foreign countries.
One gets the impression that Minsk's foreign policy has gone completely wrong. The Belarusian authorities make trouble for themselves even where it is not necessary at all. It seems that sometimes the principle "the worse the better", says political observer Aliaksandr Klaskouski in an article on the website naviny.online.
When a fierce conflict with the West began after the 2020 presidential elections, the Belarusian Foreign Ministry in its rhetoric switched to a shockingly free style, which is exactly the opposite of the language of diplomacy.
For example, Foreign Minister Uladzimir Makei on June 14 on the ONT TV channel called Western politics "a triumph of talking heads without brains." And Lithuania, which supports the strengthening of sanctions against the Belarusian regime, was awarded the word "pygmy".
It should be noted that Lithuania, whose population is more than three times smaller than the Belarusian one, is ahead of Belarus both in terms of GDP (not per capita, but in principle!), and in terms of average salary (and much), and in terms of pensions. ... So the attack looks reckless and factual, and due to the fact that it is short-sighted, to put it mildly, to escalate an already complicated relationship with a neighbor. Especially for the talking heads with brains, whom the figures of the Belarusian Foreign Ministry certainly think they are.
Why offend the Turks?
In recent days, Lukashenka, holding certain events, tries not to say too much, and to speak out purely on the main topic. But on June 19, visiting the 2nd City Children's Clinical Hospital of Minsk, he suddenly announced that Belarus would not accept planes flying through Ukraine.
The point is that Kyiv joined the decision of the European Union to stop air traffic with Belarus after the scandalous landing in Minsk on May 23 of a Ryanair aircraft and the capture of Raman Pratasevich who was flying on it.
Yes, but the point is that, as a result, Ukrainian planes do not fly to Belarus. To whom will the Belarusian side make it worse?
According to Lukashenka, Belarusian planes are now making a circle, while "other airlines, Turkish ones, are flying directly so far. Although we are now conducting a dialogue - since Ukraine has closed air passage for us, we will simply not accept planes from Ukraine". This, they say, will be done to "create equal conditions for our Belavia aircraft." If we fly this way, then we will force others to fly this way to us in Belarus".
That is, it turns out that, in revenge on Ukraine, Minsk will squeeze airlines from Turkey and the Emirates? It’s a strange decision, considering that these states do not put pressure on the Belarusian regime with sanctions, moreover, they clearly turn a blind eye to its repressive policy, which arouses indignation in the EU and the United States.
Myanmar case: Belarusian diplomacy in the style of "Grumpy Witch Stands Against"
The Belarusian regime is in a hurry to appear in an unfavorable light, even in cases when circumstances do not force it in any way.
For example, Belarus turned out to be the only state that, at a meeting of the UN General Assembly on June 18, voted against a resolution calling on all countries to stop supplying weapons to Myanmar, and the military who seized power there - to stop violence and restore democracy.
Note: even Russia and China, permanent members of the UN Security Council, who do not shine with love for democracy, abstained from voting. That is, this is certainly not the case when Moscow would put pressure on the position of Minsk.
So the Belarusian authorities in this situation, having acted in the style of "Grumpy Witch Stands Against", one must think, simply abandoned the diplomatic cunningness and sincerely testified to their convictions: if the people took to the streets to protest, all means are good. And the image in the international arena, apparently, is no longer important.
How "LPR Prosecutor General's Office" Framed Minsk
Lukashenka's statements about his intention to organize air communication with Crimea, as well as invite investigators from the self-proclaimed “LPR” to interrogate blogger Pratasevich caught after landing Ryanair, created problems for the authorities out of the blue. These topics were discussed at a meeting on June 1 in Minsk.
In particular, Lukashenka admitted that he himself raised the issue of inviting investigators from the separatist formations of Donbas to negotiations with Vladimir Putin in Sochi: "There are nuances: a criminal case has been opened in Donbas against these persons. To which I told President Putin, I reminded him that a criminal case had been opened and said that if they (the investigators leading this case - A.K.) had questions for them (Pratasevich and others - A.K. ), - you are welcome to us, please ask them questions, because they killed people there, in the Donbas."
On the same day, the so-called General Prosecutor's Office of the LPR reported that they "had asked Belarus to provide an opportunity to conduct investigative actions with the participation of a citizen of Belarus Raman Pratasevich".
These statements by Lukashenka made a splash: many media gave headlines in the spirit that Minsk is preparing to recognize Crimea as Russian, and is also moving towards the recognition of the self-proclaimed republics of the Donbas.
Official Kyiv, naturally, was outraged. It promised sanctions, "if at least one plane of the Belarusian airline appears on the territory of the occupied Crimea." And the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Dmytro Kuleba threatened that if the representatives of the so-called LPR will come to Belarus, then its authorities "will be hurt".
The Belarusian authorities may have realized that they need to slow down in these matters. The topic of flights to Crimea somehow died out. And at a press conference on June 14 in Minsk, the chairman of the Investigatory Committee Dzmitry Hora, answering the question whether representatives of the so-called LPR Prosecutor General's Office, said that there were no inquiries from abroad in the Pratasevich case.
But here's the bad luck: after a couple of days on the site of the so-called "LPR Prosecutor General's Office" expressed gratitude to Lukashenka and the law enforcement agencies of Belarus for the opportunity to "carry out the necessary investigative actions". As a result, they say, a confession was obtained.
A number of analysts concluded that Minsk had been set up - and behind this one sees the Kremlin's interest in discrediting the hapless ally in the eyes of Ukraine and the West as much as possible.
Illegals: Lithuania suspects hybrid war
Returning to relations with Vilnius, it is worth emphasizing that they are all agog from the sharply increased flow of illegal immigrants from Belarus. And they call it a hybrid war, suspecting that the Belarusian authorities are deliberately letting such migrants into the EU in order to annoy it in response to the sanctions, the termination of financial assistance (including for the arrangement of the border).
Minsk pretends to be innocent and assures that the Belarusian border guards, as usual, look both ways. But why then did the illegal immigrants infiltrate to the other side become so many? According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Lithuania, 392 foreigners have been detained since the beginning of the year, who crossed the border of this country, having come from Belarus, of which 204 were detained from 1 to 16 June. The total number of detainees in 2021 is already several times higher than in the entire last year.
And most importantly, the EU countries willingly cite in this regard the reports of a number of media close to the Belarusian authorities that Lukashenka declared in the "parliament" on May 26: "We stopped drugs and migrants - now you will eat and catch them yourself".
Reputation is difficult to build up, but easily destroyed and often irreparable. Minsk's reputation in the international arena was, to put it mildly, not brilliant before. And they just disastrously undermined it over the past year, when the regime got involved in a confrontation with a fair part of the world. Moreover, the Belarusian authorities continue making the same old mistakes, darkening their image even more.