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Belarus counters Russia sanctions by accepting Western goods

  • 2014-08-12
  • From wire reports, MINSK

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko (photo: twitter)

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has refused to support Russia's import ban against the countries that have imposed sanctions against Russia.

"If we need Polish apples, we can buy them. But not for Russia, only for our domestic consumption," Lukashenko said during a meeting with Belarusian Prime Minister Mikhail Myasnikovich.

"If we need some delicacies from Germany, we can buy them for domestic consumption. It we need something to process and so on - we buy it and process it."

Cargo transit to Russia cannot go through Belarus though, Lukashenko said, adding that he has promised that to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The president's comments come after Russia and EU placed sanctions on each other over the crisis in the Ukraine. Russia has banned a large share of foods from Western countries from crossing its borders. 

Lukashenko previously proposed that if certain products are banned from entering the Russian market, they should be sold in Belarus or sent to processing facilities.

"The decision was taken without warning, suddenly. And a certain number of vehicles and refrigerators with perishable products got stuck at the border. Do not offend these people. Firstly, these are Belarusian and Russian drivers, freight forwarders, and so on. Second, people have already paid for these goods and contracts have been signed. Third, we should not forget about a humane attitude," Lukashenko explains.

Lukashenko said that he has warned the chairman of the Customs Committee regarding the sanctions. 

"We may suggest that those for whom Russia banned access sell their products in Belarus or that we take these goods to process them. During these days, we should be very careful when it comes to foreign suppliers. We should remain humans. I do not think this will be to the detriment of Russia. This does not contradict the commitments that we have agreed on."