Updated at 13:48,15-08-2017

Belarus FM slams Russia over border controls

Ales Piletski, Euroradio

Belarus FM slams Russia over border controls
Photo: souzveche.ru
Russia has created a serious problem for Belarus by restricting the movement of third-country citizens via the Belarus-Russian border.

Lavrov: Temporary border controls could be introduced

Russia deems it possible to restore border controls between Belarus and Russia, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said during a meeting with his Belarusian counterpart Uladzimir Makei in Minsk.

"Those willing to enter Russia need to use other geographical and territorial possibilities where international border crossing posts are in place. But when we and Belarus develop a single visa policy and have everything 100% coordinated who will get a visa and who will not, then the problem will disappear. Meanwhile, we need to introduce some interim measures. Perhaps, we need to open temporary border posts for foreigners who cross the border between Belarus and Russia," he said.

Border controls between Belarus and Russia did not exist for the past 20 years. Several months ago, Russia unilaterally stopped allowing third-country citizens traveling via Belarus to Russia on personal vehicles on roads. Controls are carried out by mobile units of Russian border guards.


Makei: Belarus is interesting in not having such problems

Belarusian Foreign Minister Uladzimir Makei's response was broadcast on ONT TV channel. His retoric was surprisingly harsh.

"We reckon that for 20 years there was an established status between our countries. And we could have avoided rapid actions in order not to create problems for third-country citizens on our border. Instead, we should have reached an agreement how to resolve this problem gradually. We reckon there should be no such problems in our relations. Belarus is interested in not having such problems, because we are a transit country," said Uladzimir Makei.

What is going on in reality? According to Sergei Lavrov, our neighbors are trying to fight the 'terrorism threat which has been on the rise.'

Political commentator, Director for Research, Liberal Club Yauhen Preiherman: When Russia has tensions in relations with the West, Маўляў, they do not want an uncontrolled re-export of goods here. Their another argument is that they do not want to have unwanted persons from third countries (e.g. Ukraine). As a result, they have started this uncontrolled and, most importantly, unexpected process.


Political commentator from Liberal Club Yauhen Preiherman points to the domestic Russian politics behind this problem. Russians have gone so much far in their Cold War games that they are even ready to return border guards to the border with Belarus:

"When Russia has tensions in relations with the West, Маўляў, they do not want an uncontrolled re-export of goods here. Their another argument is that they do not want to have unwanted persons from third countries (e.g. Ukraine). As a result, they have started this uncontrolled and, most importantly, unexpected process," says the expert.