2021.06.21 15:14

Sectoral sanctions on Belarus will cut cargo transit via Lithuania

BNS2021.06.21 15:14

If the European Union agrees on sectoral sanctions for Belarus, its fertilisers exports via EU countries should be suspended, sources have told BNS. This will have an impact on Lithuania.

The legislative process in the EU to endorse sanctions is expected to be finished on Thursday, the two sources said, adding that the package of sectoral sanctions has received approval from EU foreign ministers in Brussels on Monday.

The package covers seven economy sectors, including trade in Belarusian fertilisers.

“If that is confirmed, fertiliser transit via the EU and imports into EU countries will stop,” one of the diplomatic sources told BNS.

Belarus is home to one of the biggest potassium fertiliser producers, Belaruskali. The company exports via the Lithuanian port of Klaipėda and uses services of Lietuvos Geležinkeliai (Lithuanian Railways), the country's state-owned railway company.

Belaruskali fertilisers are handled by the Klaipėda-based company Birių Krovinių Terminalas (Bulk Cargo Terminal).

These companies would lose tens of millions euros annually without Belaruskali exports.

The sectoral sanctions for Belarus come in response to the forced diversion of a Vilnius-bound Ryanair passenger plane to Minsk to detain opposition blogger Roman Protasevich.

Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis says EU sanctions are aimed at forcing the Alexander Lukashenko regime to change its policies.

“Russia will have to refinance everything that (Belarus) loses,” he told reporters after arriving to the ministerial meeting in Brussels on Monday. “This means [Russian President Vladimir] Putin might call his good friend Lukashenko and ask him not to take certain steps, release political prisoners, to change the policy. [...] It could be quite effective.”

EU leaders will also discuss sectoral sanctions for Belarus on Thursday. Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda has vowed to back an EU agreement on the sanctions, whatever it might be.

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