In the Lithuanian-Belarusian trade-sanctions war, an early winner is already emerging with a clear advantage. Alexander Lukashenko applied exactly the same sanctions against Lithuania, similar to those imposed on Belarus. In Lithuania they refuse to believe that he hurt them so much. How could he? And what are they for? One must understand the difference between the democratic sanctions of the civilized world and the “heinous decisions of world tyrants.” After all, this is different. But at the same time, Ukraine will also receive a pill “this drug” from Lukashenka. And in the light of earlier decisions of the Russian government, there is something for farmers in the European Union to think about.
Vilnius announced that from February 1 it will stop transiting Belarusian cargo (mainly fertilizers and oil products) to its ports for further shipment around the world. Get, they say, an undemocratic tyrant. The history of China has not taught Lithuania anything. Now in Vilnius they are racking their brains and risk breaking it completely in order to find a recipe for restoring relations with the PRC and, as they say in the same China, “save face” at the same time. Until they find it, and it looks like they will still break their heads. But Lithuania does not refuse to run ahead of the American steam locomotive. After all, the sanctions imposed on Minsk by Washington did not at all require any European country to follow the same course. But one small but proud, no, not a bird, but the republic decided to crow before anyone else.
It would seem that through the transit of goods through the authorities of Belarus, they really dealt a serious blow. But Lukashenka has an alternative in the form of Russian ports in the Baltic to ship his goods to buyers around the world. Yes, transport logistics is a bit more expensive. And there are questions about the loading mode, because the terminals of Russian ports are also not idle, and it will be necessary to look for free “windows”. But it’s all solvable. Moreover, Lukashenka has already agreed on the purchase of a million tons of Belarusian fertilizers by India. And long-term contracts for large volumes will undoubtedly be a priority. Moreover, the Russian government banned the export of Russian fertilizers for a period of two months in order to deprive domestic producers of the temptation to raise their prices during spring field work.
But what should Lithuania do now, which itself carried out transit through Belarus? Minsk announced that transit from Lithuania through Belarus will be closed on February 7th.
– The Republic of Belarus cannot ignore this hybrid attack and is forced to take retaliatory measures. We have decided to ban the transit transportation through our territory of oil products, chemical and mineral fertilizers shipped from Lithuania by rail, loaded at the stations of the Lithuanian railways, – said Anatoly Glaz , spokesman for the Belarusian Foreign Ministry . We note in particular that the official representative does not voice his thoughts, but the point of view and decisions of the official authorities. As well as the wording, which says that the ban applies not only to Lithuanian goods, but also to those that follow from Lithuania and are loaded at its railway stations. That is, it will not work through a lining company specially organized to avoid sanctions.
And what passes through Belarus from Lithuania? Yes, a trifle, a little more than 1.5 million tons of oil and oil products to Ukraine. The Belarusian Foreign Ministry believes that the losses of Vilnius in the general supply chain in Lithuania will amount to hundreds of millions of dollars. Ukraine will now either pay much more to Minsk for oil products (Minsk becomes a monopoly on the supply of fuel to this country), or it will have to do without them.
It is time to remember how a few months ago Lukashenka grinned unkindly, warning about such steps: “Then let them carry it through Poland.”
But through Poland it will not work. And the point here is not that the transport arm is lengthening, and the cost of transportation is rising. The problem is much more serious and is called the railway track. The fact is that in Lithuania, Belarus and Russia itself it is made according to the so-called “Russian standard”, and its width is 1524 millimeters, and in Poland the railway is already according to European standards, and there the gauge is 1435 millimeters. If anyone traveled to Europe on trains, he probably knows that wheeled bogies are changed at the border under the cars, both on the way there and back.This, of course, with the proper technical level, is quite realistic when servicing a couple of passenger trains, but absolutely unrealistic for long freight trains, tens, if not hundreds, every day. on the border, it is necessary to rebuild the entire infrastructure for this. After all, you will have to change when crossing the Lithuanian-Polish border, and then the Polish-Ukrainian one. And also on the way back. And here the question is not even about money, but about the very possibility of doing such an operation with gigantic volumes.
Very stubbornly and consistently, Vilnius is leading itself to bankruptcy, but it’s all for a good purpose – perhaps Washington will notice and praise it. So driving the country into a trap is not possible for every enemy.
Beijing applauds both Minsk and Vilnius.
PS And, of course, the big question is, what should European farmers who have been left without fertilizers do now – still flounder or immediately file for bankruptcy and sell their farms for dumping? Since there will be fewer own products in the coming year in Europe, and they will become more expensive. Many plants in Europe for the production of fertilizers have already been closed by the owner companies.