Updated at 01:25,03-03-2021

Will Russia sanctions affect Belarus?

Zmicier Lukashuk, Euroradio

Exports of Belarus-made goods to Russia is down 7% since the West's recent sanctions against Moscow, says economist Yaraslau Ramanchuk.

The sanctions may be expanded, the G7 leaders warned Russia at a meeting in Brussels yesterday. Can the expansion affect the economic situation in Belarus?

It is possible, reckons Minsk-based financial analyst at Alpari Vadzim Iosub.

Vadzim Iosub: Russia is our main market and creditor. That is why Belarus may feel the worsening of the economic situation in Russia.

However, the sanctions should affect the Russian economy instead of some individuals targeted by the EU and US, he told Euroradio.

Vadzim Iosub: The sanctions imposed on certain people and companies can hardly affect the Russian budget and economy. When Russia feels the sanctions, Belarus may feel them, too. However, Russia is not suffering any significant losses caused by the sanctions at the moment.

The EU and USA may impose sanctions on Russia’s energy complex and limit Russian gas and oil supplies abroad. However, it is difficult to predict whether the sanctions will be imposed and how ‘hard’ they may be, Vadzim Iosub said.

Vadzim Iosub: A significant reduction of oil and gas supplies will not only affect Russia – it will affect Europe as a consumer. No agreement has been reached in the West as regards the issue. It is not clear what the next level of the sanctions may be like.

Belarus may be able to make some money on the sanctions. It may start supplying more ‘solvents’ or ‘bitumen’ made from Russian oil to Europe. If Gazprom supplies are refused in Europe, they may ignore the fact that Belarusian resellers may be supplying Russian gas.

Belarus has already felt the consequences of the sanctions imposed on Russia, economist Yaraslau Ramanchuk disagrees with his colleague.

Yaraslau Ramanchuk: Belarus has already felt them. Our export to Russia decreased by 7% in the first quarter of the year and it is already clear that Russia will find it hard to fulfill its commitments as regards Belarus in the Eurasian Economic Union.

However, the West has not imposed any real sanctions on Russia yet, he agreed with Vadzim Iosub. And it is not clear if they will be imposed.

Yaraslau Ramanchuk: There are no sanctions that would restrict the main Russian resources – gas, oil and finances. There is no agreement in the West. France and Italy are very cautious about imposing sanctions. Even Germany is thinking about the way the sanctions may affect Germany rather than about solving the Ukrainian problem.

Even if the West does impose energy sanctions on Russia, it will not happen by autumn. And their consequences will become noticeable only in 2015.