Lukashenka: Ukraine offered to help with the transit of Belarusian potash, but then changed its mind

Photo: Leonid Sobolev
7 mins

Aliaksandr Lukashenka acknowledged the problems with the export of potash fertilizers and said that Ukraine offered its services for their transit. He stated this in an interview with Russian TV presenter Vladimir Solovyov.

“Now the problem has arisen with the Belarusian potassium chloride. And not because these are potash fertilizers, but because 11-12 million tons is a huge mass that needs to be moved,” Lukashenka said.

According to him, Ukraine offered its services for the transit of Belarusian fertilizers. “And today they said, “No – we will not ship in Odessa.” That is, they were stopped too,” Lukashenka emphasized.

He claims that Minsk “has been negotiating with Russia for a long time” on the issue of transportation of exported potash fertilizers, and Moscow is helping.

U.S. sanctions against Belaruskali, which were introduced in August of this year, came into force in early December last year. Unlike European sanctions, all products of this enterprise fell under the ban. In Lithuania (through which a significant part of the transit of Belarusian potash fertilizers passes), it was stated a few months earlier that they intend to stop their transshipment on December 8. The reason is the likelihood of coming under secondary American sanctions. However, since December 8, transit through Lithuania has not stopped, which caused a scandal, it even came to the possible resignation of the government (but in the end this did not happen).

On December 21, the Government Commission for the verification of transactions of strategic enterprises stated that the agreement of Lithuanian Railways with Belaruskali pose a threat to the country’s security. At the end of the year, Lithuania decided to terminate the contract for the transportation of Belarusian potash by Lithuanian Railways, referring to the fact that the agreement between LTG Cargo and the Belarusian fertilizer giant Belaruskali does not meet the interests of national security.

At the same time, the Lithuanian authorities did not prohibit other companies from applying for the transit of Belarusian fertilizers to the LTG Cargo subsidiary. However, the applications received from the Belarusian Potash Company (BPC), Belintertrans and Belkalii-Migao were rejected.

On February 1, the transit of potash fertilizers through Lithuania stopped. In response, Minsk imposed a ban on the transit through its territory of oil products, chemical and mineral fertilizers loaded at the stations of the Lithuanian Railway. The losses of both countries from the decisions taken are estimated at billions of dollars.

At the same time, the Kremlin admits that the transit of Belaruskali products through Russian territory has not yet begun. The issue is still under discussion, the Kremlin Spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said.

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