MINSK, 6 May (BelTA) – Sanctions cannot do any good, Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko said in an interview with the Associated Press, BelTA has learned.
The journalist asked how Belarus is coping with economic problems amidst the sanctions and whether it counts on Russia's support.
“By and large, with the exception of two or three commodity groups, we do not need any support from Russia, although it provides us with any kind of support we ask for, including loans, money, and goods,” the head of state said.
The president explained why support is not needed: “Because Russia needs 85% of what we produce in Belarus today. We use Russian rubles in trade, we sell our goods there, we receive Russian rubles and use them (as we agreed) to buy gas and oil. It is a blessing in disguise. We used to buy energy in Russia for dollars. Today they agree on the Russian ruble. Therefore, just imagine - 85% of our export is in demand in Russia, something goes to China, especially food. China needs a lot of foodstuffs.
“As for some commodity groups, you know what they are, we also find solutions. We sort out logistics issues, and so on. Let's say, Europe, America bans Belarusian mineral fertilizers. Well, listen, they are in great demand in America today. Prices have risen not only for oil, gas and mineral fertilizers, but also for food. Even more so in Europe. Why are we acting like fools and stubbornly beating each other with sanctions?” Aleksandr Lukashenko asked.
The president cited an example: “The European Union has banned our vehicles from traveling to the EU. Well, we have banned them from moving through the territory of Belarus. We are starting to reload these goods. What have we lost from this? Nothing. Our logistics, logistics centers, warehouses make good money. Who pays? Western suppliers. Why do we need this? Lithuania, Latvia have closed their ports for our cargo. Let it be, we are redirecting our cargo to Russia. We have started delivering potassium, among other things. We have sorted out issues related to the supply of petroleum products.”
Aleksandr Lukashenko emphasized that the sanctions have a negative impact on ordinary people in European countries: “Well, I don't understand why they are doing it. Lithuanians, Latvians are now coming to us with barrels and canisters for diesel and gasoline (it is cheaper here). This is not normal. Who benefits from this? Politicians.”
The president also noted that during the two weeks of the visa waiver introduced by Belarus for the neighboring countries, more than 19,000 people came to Belarus from Lithuania and Latvia alone, to buy Belarusian goods and fuel, among other things.
“Who found themselves on the receiving end? Things are not so easy now even in America... We will survive. Everything that we produce is in demand on international markets today, which means that it will be sold one way or another, mostly in Russia,” the head of state continued.
“Therefore, I am absolutely convinced, I do not hope, but I am convinced that we will hold out. Of course, sanctions are no picnic, there is little pleasant about them. But, apparently, this is your policy,” he added.