Ukraine and the “dual” Lukashenka’s policy

The presidents of Belarus and Ukraine held a meeting on April 26, the anniversary of the tragedy of Chernobyl. Shortly before the negotiations between the Belarusian regime has accused Kiev of “export independence” amid a wave of protests in Belarus. The meeting between Alexander Lukashenko and Petro Poroshenko was held “in a very difficult context, after the March events in Minsk, Lukashenko’s turn toward Putin, the new cooling in relations with the West,” — said Ukrainian political analyst Vladimir Fesenko, who analyzes a complicated “limited partnership” relations between Kyiv and Minsk.

Kiev sees the forced approval of the official Minsk Russian politics at the international level, but sees the Belarusian-Russian contradictions, which Ukraine can use to their advantage.

Just a couple of weeks before his visit to Chernobyl Belarusian head of state Alexander Lukashenko has said many unflattering about the situation in Ukraine in the context of a wave of protests in Belarus. In February, when protests against the so-called “tax for parasites” was just beginning, in destabilizing the situation in Belarus indirectly accused some anti-Belarusian forces in Russia, then in March (after yet another “reconciliation” in economic disputes with Moscow) Minsk pointed out the threat from the Ukraine. March 21 Alexander Lukashenko announced the arrest of a couple of dozen Belarusian militants are trained, including in camps on the territory of Ukraine. All over the country reported on a mysterious jeep with a gun, who broke into Belarus from Ukraine on the eve of the freedom Day on March 25 (Now this story based on the video denied the Ukrainian side, the Belarusian propaganda is no longer recalls). Export the Maidan mentioned in several films in the genre of investigation shown on Belarusian TV at the height of protests in the country.

But official reports about the meeting between Alexander Lukashenko and Petro Poroshenko, on 26 April at Chernobyl and the Belarusian Lyaskovichi, has been very positive. Talked about the disaster at Chernobyl and its consequences, about the friendship of the Ukrainians and Belarusians, on the impossibility to break them up, Lukashenko once again reminded of their Ukrainian ancestors: “here is very close, between Kiev and Chernihiv, and buried the roots of my ancestors.” The Ukrainian President thanked Belarus “for the faithful execution of the intergovernmental agreement on additional confidence-building measures and security, which provides advance information about the implementation in a single boundary zone of any military exercises, deployment of military units and new types of weapons”. About the militants and the spread of the Maidan — not a word, as well as the voting of Belarus on the Ukrainian question at the international level in favor of Moscow.

Talks of the Belarusian and Ukrainian presidents for RFI commented Ukrainian political analyst and head of Center for applied political studies “Penta” Volodymyr Fesenko.

Vladimir Fesenko: “about these allegations, firstly, understood by phone in late March, they discussed this problem, and for myself, I think they the problem was resolved. It seems to me that all these statements Lukashenko made for a domestic audience. It was not a signal to Ukraine, rather, were such accusations against the “revolutionaries” of the Belarusian, which seemed to be fuelled from Ukraine, but it wasn’t a critical signal for Poroshenko or the desire to reorient the relationship, change them.”

According to the analyst, the meeting of the presidents “really took place in a very difficult context, after the March events in Minsk, Lukashenko’s turn toward Putin, the new cooling in relations with the West.”

Vladimir Fesenko:
“the Context for the meeting was not very good. But the meeting showed that both presidents are interested in the preservation of such limited partnership. Both parties are interested in the fact that relations remained neighborly, that was not conflict. Of course, in the foreground the issues of economic development, the two sides are interested in this, there are many points of contact. Belarus may get more of an opportunity in Ukraine to pass products, Ukraine can electricity supply to Belarus and so on. There are a lot of things — the engineering common program. But for Ukraine it was shown by the comments and the press service of the Ukrainian President and the Ukrainian media in the first place is the question, of course, securing the Ukrainian-Belarusian border. To avoid the risk of bringing Russian troops in Belarus. The theme of the joint Belarusian-Russian exercises “West-2017” raised in the negotiations. Directly the presidents it is not voiced, but the topic was raised, as I understand, Poroshenko has received certain guarantees and assurances on this score. Well, here is the “revolutionary” theme, I do not exclude that it could touch, and Poroshenko could give any additional promises to their Belarusian colleague about the fact that there is no export of revolution is not that border control will be strengthened, I think that such assurances could be given. Moreover, Poroshenko is afraid of the revolutionary radicals, may be somewhat less than Lukashenko, but, nevertheless, also fears. So I think, after all this topic was not a stumbling block, and it was not definitely the principal in the negotiations”.

Note that two days after the meeting with the Belarusian President Petro Poroshenko told Ukrainian media about the conversation about the teachings of the “West-2017” and doubts about their safety for Ukraine. “I emphasize that I have no doubt exceptionally good intentions of Belarus, but it is allied relations with Russia. And to Moscow, we trust anymore,” said the President of Ukraine on April 28. “And so for me it was extremely important that I received from the head of the Belarusian state firm assurances that the planned Russian-Belarusian strategic exercises “West-2017″ near the Ukrainian border will not turn into the Russian Federation of springboard for the invasion of Ukraine from the Belarusian territory,” — said Poroshenko.

Vladimir Fesenko: “you Know, the absolute guarantee can not be and concerns remain. They were in 2014. It is important to another. Poroshenko perfectly understands the duality of Lukashenka’s policy and accepts it as a reality. No we don’t Harbor illusions about the persistence in the future of allied relations between Belarus and Russia, it will be and that will not change, but for us it is very important to have separation. Poroshenko is playing on the contradictions that exist between Russia and its closest allies in the Eurasian Union — Belarus and Kazakhstan. This also applies to economic issues, and by the way, here’s these contradictions associated with Ukraine, was one of the causes of the conflict with Russia Lukashenko is re-export Ukrainian goods, in particular of Ukrainian meat. But for Poroshenko it is very important to still here this duality… let it persists, may continue Lukashenko flirts with the West, and pursues a specific policy towards Ukraine, which differs from Putin’s policies. It is important that Lukashenko was not an enemy. He will be a reliable friend, but looks like this trading partner, a figure that promises border security, but full trust to him there, of course. The main thing that he was not an enemy. This is the main interest (Ukraine) — preservation of these special relations between Poroshenko and Lukashenko, and of relations between Ukraine and Belarus”.

As for the economy, then, as stated by Petro Poroshenko at the talks, Belarus will increase deliveries of oil products to Ukraine. Kiev, given the hostilities in the East of the country, need the gasoline and diesel fuel from Russian raw materials.

In 2016 the volume of trade and export Ukraine became the second after Russia, trade partner of Belarus. Turnover in 2016, grew by 10.5%, Belarusian exports — by 13.2%. “Belarus is ready to increase deliveries to Ukraine of automotive and agricultural machinery, fertilizers and building materials. In turn, we are interested in procurement of metal products, production of crops and livestock,” — said Alexander Lukashenko after a meeting with his Ukrainian counterpart.
This summer, Alexander Lukashenko will visit Ukraine with official visit.