Monday, May 31, 2021

"EU sanctions expected to hit Belarus's potash, oil and finance"

You could whisper 'potash' in a hurricane and I'd probably query 'did someone say 'potash?''
Just ask Pavlov's dogs, you hear what you want to hear.
That said, we are playing catch-up, this article is five days old.

From Reuters via EuroNews, May 27:

The European Union will look at hitting Belarus’s big potash exports as well as its oil and financial sectors with new sanctions, as punishment for forcing down a Ryanair flight to arrest a journalist, EU foreign ministers said.

European leaders have described Sunday’s incident, in which a flight between EU members Greece and Lithuania was pressed to land in Minsk and a 26-year-old exiled dissident and 23-year-old student were arrested, as state piracy. They have promised to impose serious consequences.

Foreign ministers gathering in the Portuguese capital on Thursday said they were looking at targeting sectors that play a central role in the Belarus economy, to inflict real punishment on President Alexander Lukashenko.

“The hijacking of the plane and the detention of the two passengers is completely unacceptable, and we will start discussing implementation of the sectorial and economic sanctions,” EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell told reporters in Lisbon.

Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn said: “The keyword, I think, is potash. We know that Belarus produces very much potash, it is one of the biggest suppliers globally, and I think it would hurt Lukashenko very much if we managed something in this area.”

Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis said the EU should consider hitting the oil sector, while Germany’s Heiko Maas spoke of measures to target financial transactions, which diplomats said would probably involve preventing the EU from lending to Belarusian banks.

Maas said Belarusian bond sales could be targeted too.

“We are talking about using financing means … particularly the question to what extent Belarus should be allowed in future to issue bonds, by the state or the central bank, in Europe,” he told reporters.

Exports of potash – a potassium-rich salt used in fertilizer – are one of the major sources of foreign currency for Belarus, and state firm Belaruskali says it produces 20 percent of the world’s supply.

The EU statistics agency said the bloc imported 1.2 billion euros ($1.5 billion) worth of chemicals including potash from Belarus last year, as well as more than 1 billion euros worth of crude oil and related products such as fuel and lubricants....


Potash is pretty much Belarus' only mineral and its largest export product.