18 Jan 2019 18:49

Belarus accused of providing fuel for Ukrainian tanks - Lukashenko

MINSK. Jan 18 (Interfax) - Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said he is accused of providing diesel fuel to Ukraine for its combat tanks.

"They have recently accused us of fueling [Ukrainian] tanks with diesel fuel. I ordered an investigation into what kind of diesel fuel they have. When they reported to me - I just read this information again - all the diesel fuel there is Russian. And the Russians are supplying, constantly increasing these supplies, gasolines and diesel fuel, to Ukraine. How can this be? Are we at war with Ukraine, or is Russia?" Lukashenko was quoted as saying by the state news agency BelTA at a meeting before the 100th anniversary of the Belarusian diplomatic service.

Lukashenko said such accusations being in employed in the context of competition for the Ukrainian market. "Our volumes [of petroleum products supplied to Ukraine] are decreasing. They are just pushing us away from the Ukrainian market, and not only on petroleum products. The same applies to fertilizers and other positions. There is competition going on. And they are beginning to accuse us of that," the president said.

Lukashenko said he is receiving "constant reports" on the massive flow of illegal weapons from Ukraine, which come to Belarus through Russia. "And the most horrible thing is that [the weapons supplied from Ukraine] are going through the Russian border [with Ukraine] and then they come to us across the open Belarusian-Russian border," he said.

"Someone needs this. They wouldn't just carry them, taking that risk [...] And we already saw who needed it," he said.

Commenting on Russia's accusations that Belarus supplies embargoed goods from Ukraine to Russia, Lukashenko said that "these amounts are negligible, and in any case we are talking about a connection between Ukrainian and Russian suppliers under the patronage of the customs and other services of the Russian Federation."

"There's not even a hint of Belarusian involvement there. If Belarusians are needed, they can involve some private structure so they suggest how best to get through Belarus," the president said.