Next year, Belarus is going to get eight million tons of oil from Venezuela. The agreement was signed at the intergovernmental level between the energy ministries of Belarus and Venezuela. Deliveries will be made through the Ukrainian port of Odessa, pumping oil in direct mode via the Odessa-Brody pipeline, which was previously used by Russian oil companies. The oil supply contract between the governments of Belarus and Venezuela, with Ukraine participating as a transportation broker, provides for thirty million tons of crude oil supply within three years to refineries in Belarus. Thus, Russia loses one of its most immediate and stable markets for oil.
Belarus was forced to resort to searching for alternative sources of Russian fuel deliveries after its political and economic relations with Russia had worsened. Will Russia's other traditional partners, such as Ukraine, follow it? Ukraine is already known to have held talks on the transit of the Azerbaijani and Kazakh oil through its territory. Why not supply its own oil refineries with this oil? Why not import gas from Turkmenistan or Iran?
Analysts say that Ukraine has all chances to become a major oil and gas crossroads of Europe, where the world's oil and gas flows will meet. The Ukrainian oil pipeline system can take up to one hundred and ten million tons of crude oil per year. There are seven major refineries on the territory of Ukraine. Ukraine could become the world's largest recycler of oil in the region and supply the whole region with petroleum products, forcing Russian suppliers from their traditional markets.
With its current ineffective foreign policy in relation to its closest neighbors, Russia can be affected not only politically but also economically. It may keep recovering oil, but will have no place to sell it. Then why build all these Southern and Northern gas streams, Eastern oil pipelines that cost tens of billions of dollars and euros, but will never pay off? Is not it easier to negotiate with neighbors and to agree on normal partnership with them? However, we don't need those brotherly relationships. We are used to having either brothers or at once enemies; no third option is given, as they say. But we have to understand that the president of any country - Ukraine, Belarus or any other - should be, first of all, pro-Ukrainian, pro-Belarusian, and only after that - pro-Russian, pro-Western or 'pro' whatever. And this must be treated with understanding and respect.
The fact that Alexander Lukashenko is going to win the presidential election in Belarus is clear to everyone, even to the most ardent opponents of Lukashenko. They keep arguing only about what margin he will get. And no matter how someone would not want a relationship with him, they will have to build one. Actually, why spoil the available relationships? There is no need to have brotherly relations between our two countries, although Russia and Belarus are really brotherly nations, but why not just to be partners and friends? Why spoil something that evolved over the centuries? Of course, Russia can do without Belarus like Belarus can probably do without Russia as well, but the fact that no one will benefit from that divorce is clear to everyone.
So let's be friends both politically and economically on a mutually beneficial, as they say, and not lopsided basis. Both Russia and Belarus will win from this accord, and if that relationship will not suit someone, that is his own problem.