Russia Monitor is a review of the most important events related to Russian internal and external security, as well as its foreign policies.
Date: 30 September 2020
Russia Requests Money: Will Belarus Cut Off Transit Through Lithuanian Ports?
Alexander Lukashenko has said he would block Baltic countries from shipping goods to Russia over Belarusian territory, and divert what is now sent through notably ports in Lithuania to the seaports in Russia. Belarus will have to pay much more, also according to what Russia is saying. If it is true, Lukashenko will start paying off his debt of gratitude to Russia amidst Moscow’s support during the Belarus political crisis.
Alexander Lukashenko said in early September that he would close borders with the Baltic nations and divert exports to the Russian ports in the Baltic Sea. Now it is Russia’s turn. Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said that Belarus has a potential for supplying around 4-6 million tons of oil products per year via ports in Russia. Earlier in September he argued this would be between 3 and 4 million tons. The issue is now being discussed, with new arrangements coming soon, but Belarus is allowed to use capacities in the seaports of St. Petersburg, Ust-Luga, and Primorsk, Novak told in an interview for Rossiya 24 TV channel. In September Russia would draft proposals on the delivery of Belarusian oil products via the Russian ports. Novak also suggested beginning what he named as the “dialogue” on common energy markets in areas like crude oil, gas, and electricity. Being in energy cooperation with Russia is of strategic importance for Belarus. Minsk has always sought to receive cheap Russian hydrocarbons. Belarus long bought crude oil at Russian domestic prices to process it in its Novopolotsk and Mozyr refineries and sold oil products to the West via the Baltic seaports. As it seems, the price Belarus would have to pay for cheap hydrocarbons will be to redirect exports to the Russian exports in a move that reduces the country’s profitability of both crude processing and fuel exports.
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