Belarus will be hard hit by loss of Ukrainian market – expert.

Belarus will be hard hit by both EU sanctions and the deterioration of economic and political relations with Ukraine due to the balance of power in trade relations between the two countries.

"If we look at the structure of Ukraine–Belarus trade, today we have a negative balance. This means that Belarusians import more goods to Ukraine than we export, and in this sense, the Ukrainian market is rather important for Belarusians," Chairman of the Institute for Economic Research and Policy Consulting Ihor Burakovsky said on the air of Dom TV channel.

It primarily concerns the supply of Belarusian fuels and lubricants, gasoline, and potash fertilizers to Ukraine.

"Belarus is the largest producer of potash fertilizers in Europe, and in this sense, the market outlet is very important to it," Burakovsky said.

In addition, cooperation with Ukraine in the field of services is extremely important to Belarus.

"More than half of our trade in services with Belarus is transport services. And it is clear that the loss of the Ukrainian direction for flights is a great economic loss for Belarus in general and for the state company Belavia in particular," the expert added.

He is confident that Ukraine will join further EU sanctions which could affect both Belarus in general and Lukashenko personally.

The expert noted that further steps by Ukraine against Minsk could be restrictions on a number of Belarusian companies and politicians but this does not mean the complete cessation of trade ties with Minsk.

In addition, he is convinced that the Ukrainian course of deterring Russian aggression will expand by deterring Minsk which actually supported the Kremlin.

"I think that now our foreign policy efforts aimed at deterring Russia will be joined by efforts related to a certain deterrence of Belarus, which actually declares its support for Russia and, therefore, support for the ongoing war in eastern Ukraine," Burakovsky summed up.

Following the persecution of Belarusian activists and the May 23 detention of opposition journalist Raman Pratasevich and his girlfriend Sofia Sapega, for which the Belarusian authorities had forcibly landed Ryanair plane in Minsk, Ukraine joined the countries that blocked flights from Belarus. The world community is preparing sanctions against Minsk.

In response, Alexander Lukashenko threatened the West with a "harsh reaction" and introduced licensing of a number of Ukrainian goods. In particular, Minsk imposed restrictions on the export-import of a number of Ukrainian goods.

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