Belarus and Russia declare trade war on EU for Ukraine
14:42, — Politics
Minsk and Moscow are introducing restrictions on goods shipments from Europe.
Olympic Games are the time of peace, but the Olympics in Sochi will start in the atmosphere of war, started by its host. At the end of past week Russian Agricultural Supervision Body imposed a ban on pork imports from the European Union. Russia explains its attitude with finding hotbeds of African plague in Lithuania, Gazeta Wyborcza reports.
“The ban is disproportional. Our Russian partners ban the exports even from those EU countries, where such cases were not registered”, - the EU’s Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy Tonia Borg claimed.
On Friday Belarus also banned pork imports from the European Union. “Our colleagues from Belarus started sending back cars with pork from the EU, reasoning that the product did not meet the veterinary requirements”, - the head of Russian Agricultural Supervision Body Sergei Dankvert said after a meeting with Belarus’ vice-Prime Minister Mikhail Rusy. Already on Saturday Belarus announced that at the instance of the Russians it introduced an embargo on potatoes from the EU, the import of which had been earlier forbidden by Moscow.
The thing is that Russia holds Belarus and a short leash. Late last year Putin promised Lukashenka 2 billion dollars in loan, which in expert opinion would save the Belarusian rouble from devaluating.
A Polish MEP Pawel Zalewski believes that the “Russian embargo is targeted among others at Poland, which supports Ukraine’s European aspirations”.
He also believes that Russia wants to kill two birds with one stone. “In the EU’s relations with Russia there are already lots of moot points. Moscow may raise the bar before the upcoming negotiations in order to bargain for more”, - he claimed.
We would remind that the termless protest action that started in Kiev after the authorities’ refusal to sign an EU Association Agreement has been going all around the country for over two months. Before 22 January protest actions took place in the capital. On the day the situation in the city center was especially tense: slashes with police ended up with casualties among the protesters.
In the course of past week the protests spread into the regions. Protests broke out not only in the Western regions, which are considered opposition’s stronghold, but also the east and south of the country. As a result the authorities made concessions and Ukraine’s Prime Minister Nikolai Azarov resigned, while the “dictatorship laws” were repealed. However, the amnesty law, adopted by the parliament, was not agreed with the opposition, that is why it refused to follow it.
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