(Bloomberg) — U.S. sanctions against Belarus’s potash industry that have helped push fertilizer prices to record highs may also draw President Alexander Lukashenko’s regime more tightly into Russia’s embrace to survive the shock to its finances.
While Lukashenko hasn’t yet asked Russia for support, the Kremlin expects the Belarusian leader to make an approach for help with budget shortfalls caused by the ban on potash sales, according to two senior Russian officials with knowledge of the situation, who asked not to be identified as the information isn’t public. Any assistance is likely to be limited, they said.
“Lukashenko is being strangled” by the U.S. sanctions, said Tatiana Stanovaya, a political consultant and founder of R.Politik. Russian President Vladimir Putin “will use the situation to bind Lukashenko even more” closely to Russia, she said.
Potash is the only abundant natural resource in Belarus and international sales account for more than 7% of the country’s export income. After the U.S. sanctioned state-owned potash producer Belaruskali OAO, Lithuania said last week that it would halt shipments of the fertilizer from Feb. 1, shutting down a route used for virtually all of its exports.
For the rest of this article: https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/u-s-potash-sanctions-may-push-belarus-deeper-into-putin-s-arms-1.1710317