Is Lukashenka involved in the export of grain from the occupied territories of Ukraine?

3 mins

На русском языке: Лукашенко участвует в вывозе зерна с оккупированных территорий Украины?
На беларускай мове: Лукашэнка ўдзельнічае ў вывазе збожжа з акупаваных тэрыторый Украіны?

In early July, we wrote that speaking at the Palace of Independence in Minsk, Lukashenka said that Ukrainian grain had allegedly started to being transited through Belarus: “Then I said: “All right, we’ll manage. Choke on these sanctions, as I said. Take poor people’s grain. Why do they bring it by a teaspoon? They do! We’ve already been prepaid by the railroad. They’re bringing it in. By a teaspoon,” he said.

Then we assumed that he let slip about the beginning of transit of Ukrainian grain not from the territory under control of Ukraine, but from the temporarily occupied one. It’s hard to say whether this is true or not, but our monitoring team has been receiving periodic reports about the movement of Russian grain cars (hoppers) through the territory of Belarus since late May.

Russian cars with grain were first spotted in Gomel on May 23, and later they were spotted quite often at Gomel-Passenger railway station.

  • On June 9 at ~11:00, a train with more than 20 cars with the inscription “grain” passed through the railway station Aziaryshcha towards Barysau, at least one of them also had the inscription “Sodruzhestvo Balttrans” (the largest operator of grain carrier hoppers in Russia).
  • On July 3 at 08:00, an echelon with grain was moving through Zhlobin (Gomel region) towards Svetlahorsk. The echelon included not only grain carrier cars, but also ordinary freight cars, all with the marks of the Russian Railways.
  • On July 9 at around 20:00, Russian cars with grain were seen again at the stop of the Orsha-Central railway station. They were also marked with “grain” inscription with “Kaliningrad” postscript.

It’s still hard to say where from, where to and for what purpose grain was transported. Most likely, some of the trains were indeed going to Kaliningrad through Belarus, but it’s possible that stolen Ukrainian grain could have been transported to Belarusian granaries.

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