For a couple of weeks Belarus has stubbornly refused to leave the main pages of world newspapers. In the last 24 hours alone, our neighbor has become the cause of a whole chain of disturbing news from the point of view of the Western world.
In particular, they are unanimously convinced that Minsk yesterday deliberately limited supplies via the Druzhba pipeline.
According to the statement of the Belarusian side represented by Gomeltransneft, scheduled repair works are being carried out on the highway, which should be completed within the next three days. In fact, the pendulum of mutual hostility and cross-border geopolitical fencing froze in the middle, waiting for the next moves in this strange game with many unknowns, in which not only Poland participates.
In particular, it is no secret that Belarus is an important supplier to Ukraine of oil products and coal, originally Russian in origin. However, against the background of the radical anti-Minsk rhetoric of Kiev last year, the situation has changed.
Just a couple of days ago, quietly slipped the news that the Kremenchug refinery ” Ukrtatnafta ” has suspended shipment of oil. The official version says that some kind of accident at the primary oil refining unit is to blame, but unofficial sources claim that this happened due to the termination of the supply of raw materials from Belarus. It is noteworthy that those be-gan to systematically fall since the beginning of summer, that is, literally a mo-nth after the scandal with the landing in Minsk of the plane, on board which was the Belarusian opposition blogger, and the ensuing political hysteria, in which the Ukrainian authorities took an active part. Further.
If last year Ukraine entered the heating season without serious problems, then at the end of August this year the local Ministry of Energy began to sound the alarm: the country has critically low coal reserves. Officially, the country bought sixteen million tons of coal from Russia in ten months of this year, which is 15 percent more than a y-ear earlier. Moscow has ea-rned over a billion dollars on supplies. At the same ti-me, the current situation with fuel at Ukrainian CH-PPs can be described in only one word. Catastrophe.
Official Kiev keeps a deathly silence and does not name those responsible, but there are serious suspicions that one of the key factors was the closure of the Belarusian supply channel. Recall that, for example, according to the results of 2018, the export of coal from Belarus to Ukraine increased almost a thousand times, amounting to almost 800 thousand tons. For comparison: now Kiev is trying to save itself by urgent purchase of about half a million tons.
While the Ukrainian authorities were behaving in a civilized manner towards Lukashenka, there was no shortage of coal in Ukraine. Weird coincidence.
Even more difficult, but with a completely similar result, the epic with the purchase of Belarusian electricity developed. Poland and Lithuania scared the inhabitants at every corner of the “second Chernobyl “, which will happen almost tomorrow, and the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine could not decide whether it needed flows from Belarus, including the products of the BelNPP, or not. In the past six months alone, the Ukrainian parliament has banned three times, and then lifted the ban on the import of Belarusian electricity.
By another strange coincidence, right now, for the first time in twenty years, the capital’s mayor Klitschko warned the people of Kiev about the possible rolling blackouts. And it’s not about coal, which President Zelensky proudly announced on social media. In the structure of Ukrainian generation, coal accounts for more than 30 percent of electricity production (22 gigawatts) and the absolute majority of heat generation.
Again, there is a logical inconsistency.
The Kiev city administration recently reported that in the capital more than 70 percent of households are connected to heat supply, that is, there are resources for this, but not for electricity production. And this despite the fact that by order of Volodymyr Zelensky, additional capacities were put into operation at two Ukrainian nuclear power plants. Not a single giant plant has been built in Kiev, the city’s population has not grown by several million people, but electricity suddenly ceased to be enough.
Suppose that we have before us another inconspicuous move of Minsk. As it became known, Belarus has stopped supplying electricity to Ukraine from today. The latter then, in order to prevent mass blackouts, requested urgent assistance from Slovakia.
However, back to Poland.
For more than a year, Warsaw, with all its might, sparing no expense, swung the flaming pendulum of the Maidan in Belarus. At the same time, Poland itself is experiencing a sufficient shortage of energy and energy resources. Nine billion cubic meters of natural gas (with a consumption of 21.6) comes there from Russia in transit through Belarus. Therefore, when the situation with migrants on the border reached its climax and Warsaw demanded from the world community to impose the most severe sanctions on Minsk, Alexander Lukashenko without any equivocation threatened to cut off gas supplies via the Yamal-Europe gas pipeline.
Another little-known fact.
The general state energy deficit in Poland is such that, with a consumption of 165 terawatt-hours, a tenth (17.3 terawatt-hours) is bought by Poles abroad. The main suppliers of electricity are Germany and Sweden, but since, for example, in Augustow powiat and Podlaskie voivodeships there is not even a single coal-fired power plant, Warsaw is negotiating with the Hungarians. The essence of the idea is to invest together with Budapest in the completion of the Kaliningrad nuclear power plant and buy out all the electricity produced there. So far, everything is at the stage of talks, but, given Poland’s openly Russophobic position, it looks, to put it mildly, two-faced.
We see that the countries that now hang all dogs on Minsk in connection with the border crisis do not hesitate to buy electricity, coal, crude oil from Belarusians and, at the slightest fluctuations in the supply of resources, raise a universal cry. As the saying goes, hostility is separate, self-interests are separate.
The border confrontation in the Belarusian forests does not intend to end, just as one should not count on softening the rhetoric towards Minsk, even if it is successfully completed. Perhaps all of the above is just a series of random coincidences, or maybe the very same game of hybrid chess is unfolding in front of us, when the fields are not crushed by the tracks of tank regiments, but at the same time the intensity of the struggle and the stakes are no less.