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October 30 – November 5, 2023
Belarus-West relations

The regime wants to “sell” political prisoners to the West and offers electricity from the BelNPP to its neighbors

The situation got worse
The regime wants to “sell” political prisoners to the West and offers electricity from the BelNPP to its neighbors
Фото: Официальный сайт Президента Беларуси

The Belarusian authorities are ready to begin trading in political prisoners under certain conditions. The regime demands that Western countries abandon pressure on Belarus and recognize the status quo that emerged after the internal political crisis in 2020 and the start of the Russian-Ukrainian war in 2022. Lukashenka proposes to neighboring countries to return to pragmatic relations. However, the signals did not reach the addressee because they were nullified by escalatory steps – threats to break through the Suwalki corridor by force, build a second nuclear power plant, and continue migration pressure.

Lukashenka hinted that he is ready to trade political prisoners with Western countries under certain conditions. For example, if Poland reconsiders its attitude towards the regime. The politician emphasized that he does not accept pressure from Warsaw, which is demanding the release of a number of political prisoners during negotiations through closed channels. However, Lukashenka does not expect Poland to change its policy towards Belarus after the parliamentary elections there.

He called the Law and Justice party pro-American, and the leader of the Civic Platform, Donald Tusk, a pro-European politician. At the same time, Lukashenka declared his readiness to cooperate with Poland, but made a reservation: Belarus will pursue policies in the interests of its people.

Lukashenka believes that in the future Belarus will restore relations with Lithuania and Poland – and the countries will be able to coexist “as in Soviet times,” since “neighbors are from God, they are not chosen.”

The dictator does not consider Belarus to be to blame for the crisis in relations, but sees the Western states surrounding the country as the source of problems. For example, Lithuania has always opposed the construction of the BelNPP. Although Belarus is ready to sell the electricity generated at the station to the Baltic countries and hire Lithuanian specialists. Lukashenka also returned to the issue of migrants and repeated: Belarus will not keep migrants on its territory. At the same time, he previously hinted that he was ready to negotiate on this issue.

The Belarusian side makes it clear in every possible way: it is not interested in the claims and protests of neighboring countries regarding their actions – be it the Belarusian Nuclear Power Plant, migrants, participation in the deportation of Ukrainian children, or threats to break through the Suwalki corridor. For example, Lukashenka is considering the possibility of building another nuclear power plant, also on the border with Lithuania. First Deputy Secretary of State of the Security Council Pavel Muraveika said: Belarus has every reason to “cut a vital corridor” through Lithuania with the help of weapons in order to gain access to the transit of goods. Minsk is allegedly prompted to take such a step by unprecedented pressure and “economic aggression” from the West. Migration attacks on Poland, Lithuania and Latvia continue in groups of more than 100 people.

Despite the threat of issuing a warrant from the International Criminal Court (ICC) against the Belarusian leadership for participation in the deportation of Ukrainian children, the Commissioner for Children’s Rights under the President of the Russian Federation, Maria Lvova-Belova, is being received in Minsk, against whom the ICC has already issued a warrant. She accuses the West of distorting the facts about Ukrainian children and thanks Belarus for its help in “improving the health of the children of Donbass.”

Contrary to the call of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) to remove Dmitry Shevtsov, State Secretary of the Belarusian Red Cross Society (BRCS), he will continue to perform his duties. Shevtsov got into a scandal in connection with statements about nuclear weapons and a trip to Russian-occupied areas of Ukraine. He visited Mariupol, appearing there in clothes with the occupiers’ symbol “Z”. He also stated that the Belarusian Red Cross is involved in the removal of Ukrainian children to Belarus. Based on the results of the investigation and the decision of the IFRC, if Shevtsov is released from office before November 30, then the BOKK’s membership in the international federation will be suspended and funding will be terminated.

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