February 6 – February 12, 2023
Belarus-Russia relations

Reducing entry and exit points

The situation has not changed

Lukashenka and Putin spoke by phone and agreed to discuss a date for their next face-to-face meeting soon. Meanwhile, preparations are underway for the February meeting of the Council of Ministers of the Union State. Given the export-import isolation of Belarus, Russia plans to transfer ownership of a Baltic terminal, and Gazprom has extended its contract with Belarus until 2025.

Reducing entry and exit points
Council of Ministers of the Union State. Photo:

On February 5th, Lukashenka and Putin spoke by phone and reportedly discussed the general economic, political, and security cooperation agenda. The most significant outcome was an agreement to agree on the dates of their next meeting shortly. That constitutes the concrete product of bilateral relations in the past last week.

A meeting of the Council of Ministers of the “Union State” is to be held in February, and the Supreme State Council of the Union State is tentatively scheduled to be held in April-May.

A representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation reported that transferring the Bronka multifunctional marine trans-shipment complex in St. Petersburg to Belarusian ownership is being expedited. The complex is apparently capable of trans-shipment of 3.2 million tons per year (though its design capacity is 20.7 million tons per year). The spokesman also noted that thanks to the intergovernmental agreement on exporting petroleum products produced in Belarus, 3.5 million tons were shipped through Russian ports last year.

The transfer of ownership of the terminal to Belarus follows reports that around 43,000 transit containers for Belarus and Russia are blocked in the port of Rotterdam. According to the Russian Ambassador to the Netherlands, transporting goods between Russia and the Netherlands is difficult because direct flights have stopped, and Russian-registered trucks and ships are banned from EU territory.

Gazprom and Gazprom Transgaz Belarus have extended contracts for gas supply to Belarus in 2023-2025 and trans-shipment in 2023. This is one of the only long contracts concluded by the Russian gas monopoly since the beginning of Russian hostilities in Ukraine. Russia has been gradually reducing gas supplies to Europe, first by completely stopping exports through the Yamal-Europe and Nord Stream pipelines (the latter being subsequently blown up due to sabotage). At present, gas supplies to the EU flow via Ukraine and Turkey.

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Once a week, in coordination with a group of prominent Belarusian analysts, we provide analytical commentaries on the most topical and relevant issues, including the behind-the-scenes processes occurring in Belarus. These commentaries are available in Belarusian, Russian, and English.

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