The Lithuanian government has decided to terminate the contract for the transportation of potash fertilizers with Belaruskali. About it informs news agency BNS.
The Minister of Transport and Communications of Lithuania, Marius Skuodis, said that the agreement will cease to be valid from February 1, 2022. Skuodis added that by this time the transportation of fertilizers should be stopped. According to the minister, if other carriers want to transport Belaruskali fertilizers through Lithuania, their transactions with the company will be checked by the government.
According to BNS, the Lithuanian government confirmed the conclusions of the commission for studying the transactions that the agreement between the Lithuanian Railways (LZD) and Belaruskali “does not meet the interests of national security.”
“There are two possible answers to the question of how this could threaten the national security of Lithuania. One official one – Lithuanian – that this contract exposes Lithuania to the danger of imposing US sanctions. The second answer is that this money helps the Lukashenka regime to survive, which organizes the migration crisis on the Lithuanian border and is in close alliance with the aggressor – Russia,” a political analyst of the European Council on Foreign Relations, a former diplomat at the Belarusian Embassy in Lithuania Pavel Slyunkin.
The expert also added that the wording about the threat to national security, which was used by the Lithuanian government, will not be able to save the Belarusian side from the right to sue to challenge this decision, and the Lithuanian side from financial sanctions.
“If we look at the termination of the contract and possible losses, then I do not think that in such a situation, when LZD does not have a contract with Belaruskali, the flow of goods and potash fertilizers through Lithuania will stop. I think that they will conclude contracts with private Lithuanian carriers who will transit in the same way – maybe in smaller volumes, but I do not think that this will 100% block the possibilities for Belarusian potash fertilizers through Lithuania. The one-time termination of transit incurs serious costs for the country. I think that the Lithuanian government would like to minimize this damage or extend it over time in order to enable contractors to find an alternative to Belarusian goods,” added Pavel Slyunkin.
According to the expert, if the transit of Belarusian potash fertilizers to Lithuania continues in a reduced volume, the Belarusian side will not face serious costs. However, if Belarus does not find workarounds, it will face maximum losses – in the amount of tens of millions of euros.
“I tend to think that even if the Lithuanian market is completely closed, Belaruskali will look for options through Russian northern ports on the Baltic Sea. However, there are also nuances there, because in this region all the free slots are occupied by Uralkali, a direct competitor of Belaruskali. If such an agreement is reached at the political level with the Russian government, then some part of the Russian ports will be released especially for the Belarusians, depending on how the scenario develops and what the losses are. It can cost tens of millions of euros, or maybe hundreds, it is difficult to predict,” the analyst concluded.
Recall that the sanctions against Belaruskali were introduced United States on the anniversary of the presidential elections in Belarus, which led to a wave of protests and a new round of political repression. Absolut Bank, the National Olympic Committee and businessmen close to power also fell under the restrictions.