BYKHOV, April 26 (Itar-Tass) —— Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko believes that the European Union has realized the futility of sanctions against his country.
“If the Europeans realized that sanctions do work and they can bend us the way they please they would have never dropped them,” Lukashenko told the media during a trip about the Chernobyl-affected regions on Thursday.
“They would first bring us to our knees and then probably bury altogether,” he said. “They must have realized that sanctions are a road to nowhere and futile and that they need Belarus.”
He recalled the decision he had made to strengthen the country’s Western border on the eve of the European soccer cup finals Ukraine and Poland would host this summer. Lukashenko said that Belarussians were now controlling mostly incoming flows.
“Now the neighboring states have asked us: ‘Help, you have in fact opened the border’. But we don’t have the money,” Lukashenko said. He declared that the number of border checkpoints might be increased, but for that Belarus should be paid. Lukashenko noted the important role of Belarus in that sense. As soon as the border regime was eased, flows of migrants from Asia and Afghanistan came pouring in across the Belarussian border.
Lukashenko also recalled the possible economic costs of EU countries resulting from sanctions.
“Not to mention the huge losses that the ports on the Baltic Sea have to sustain,” Lukashenko said, adding that Minsk was holding talks with Russia on lowering railway tariffs to keep the Baltic ports busy.
Russians would be glad to see millions of tonnes of Belarussian cargoes. Minsk has also agreed with Ukraine on greater traffic through the southern ports.
“If we are unwanted in the EU countries, we shall be looking for our good fortune elsewhere,” Lukashenko said. He stated that if the EU is prepared “to talk to us without preconditions, we shall be prepared to get back to the negotiating table to discuss any matter.”
“We shall be ready to discuss any problems. But if they put pressures on us, we shall fight back,” Lukashenko said.