2021 May 28 Friday
EU sanctions and air blockade
Lukashenko travels to meet Putin
Belarusian President Lukashenko wants a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin to resolve major diplomatic tensions with the European Union and the United States. Sanctions complicate Belarus’ economic situation. The country is asking the ally for help.
Under pressure from EU sanctions and growing tensions with the West, Belarusian ruler Alexander Lukashenko will travel to the Kremlin this Friday for a meeting with President Vladimir Putin. In Sochi on the Black Sea, the Kremlin declared that questions about the further bilateral development of the two countries should be at stake. This is the third meeting of the two politicians this year.
Lukashenko, he said, wants to talk to Putin about the consequences of EU and US sanctions, which could cause economic problems for Belarus. Minsk is already in the limelight with billions with Moscow. Putin recently reiterated his support for Lukashenko, despite growing costs for Russia. Belarus is economically dependent on Russia’s drops. Lukashenko is also politically dependent on Moscow.
The conflict between Belarus and the West recently came to a head when Lukashenko brought a Ryanair passenger plane to the ground on Sunday to arrest one of his rivals. Opposition activist and blogger Roman Protashevich was arrested after a forced landing. His girlfriend Sofia Sabeka, who is a Russian citizen, was arrested along with him.
Four days after his arrest, Protashevich was allowed to see his lawyer, Inesa Olenskaya. “Everything is fine, he is in good spirits, positive and happy,” Olenskaya told the Independent Peleban news agency on Thursday evening. For secret reasons, she could not say much.
SPD presidential candidate Olaf Scholes has expressed hope that Putin will campaign for the release of Roman Protozoan. “My expectation of the Kremlin before the meeting with the Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko is clear: Moscow should not ignore this heinous hijacking,” Scholes told the Phonke media group. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has warned the West against “demonizing” Belarus.
Prior to the talks, Belarusian Prime Minister Roman Kolovchenko sought Russia’s help from Lukashenko and Putin. “We trust the support of a close ally in such a situation,” Kolovchenko said in a meeting with his Russian counterpart Mikhail Michustin. Mishustin promised to expand air traffic between the two countries again if the corona situation allows it.
The European Union has decided not to allow Belarusian flights to take off or land, or to allow more flights in the future. Many European countries have already issued sanctions since the beginning of the week. In return, the state-owned Belarusian airline Belavia suspended all flights to Germany and six other EU countries. It will be decided in the coming weeks which companies or branches of industry in Belarus will be affected by the EU sanctions.
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