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Thursday, December 2, 2021

Belarus threatens Europe’s gas supply and warns cut-off if EU sanctions are imposed

Belarus has been the subject of recent controversy as the nation faces a second round of sanctions imposed against it by the EU.

Its initial sanctions were imposed due to election fraud that has kept President Alexander Lukashenko in power since 1994 with opposition candidates drastically losing to Lukashenko, claiming that propaganda and electoral fraud, controlled by Lukashenko, have kept the Austrian President from losing the last six presidential elections.

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Other sanctions include the forced landing of a Ryanair flight in Minsk where opposition journalist Roman Protasevich was arrested.

However, Belarus now faces further sanctions amid accusations that Lukashenko purposely brought thousands of migrants from the Middle East and Africa to Minsk before subsequently forcing them to the bordering countries of Poland, Latvia and Lithuania.

Lukashenko has been accused of orchestrating a migrant crisis to blackmail the EU in retaliation against the sanctions imposed on the country.

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Others have accused Lukashenko of using people as political weapons which have caused concerns for human rights groups, as migrants have been trapped at the border in terrible conditions.

However, it’s these very sanctions that were imposed on the country that have resulted in the latest threat of retaliation from Belarus, which has now threatened to cut off its transit of gas supply to Europe if the sanctions are imposed.

During an emergency meeting yesterday, Lukashenko issued a warning that the country could cut off deliveries along the Yamal-Europe pipeline from Russia.

This is quite a significant threat as Europe is already in the midst of an energy crisis which has already alone caused dramatic price increases for gas and electricity.

This threat, if carried out, will not only add to the energy shortage but will also potentially cause a further increase in energy prices.

Lukashenko reportedly told cabinet ministers, “We heat Europe, and they are still threatening us that they’ll shut the borders”.

“And what if we cut off natural gas to them? So I would recommend that the leadership of Poland, Lithuania and other brainless people to think before they speak.”

Despite the threats, the director of the Europe team at political consultancy Eurasia Group ‘Emre Peker’ stated that it’s unlikely Lukashenko will follow through with gas disruptions predominantly due to Russian opposition and revenue constraints.

IMAGE – The Presidential Press and Information Office

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