Belarusian Oil Refinery is detrimental
Regardless of the benefits provided by the government to the refineries, Naftan and Mozyr refineries topped the list of the most unprofitable businesses with a net loss in the first half of 2011 of Br 205.6 billion and Br 184.306 billion respectively.
Concern “Belneftekhim” has reported that almost half of its enterprises have reached positive trade balance of over $ 2 billion and met all the planned goals.
The average rate of premium to Russian oil suppliers during the first half of 2011 amounted to about $ 6 per 1 barrel, or more than $ 44 per 1 ton (increased by 4 times). The Belarusian authorities believe it puts the Belarusian refiners in unequal working conditions within the EEA and makes refining at Belarusian enterprises unprofitable.
Regardless of the abolition of export duties on Russian oil Belarusian oil refineries could not make profits, which reduced their attractiveness to investors significantly.
With regard to the positive balance of $ 2 billion reported by “Belneftekhim”, it is not quite true. The concern management is manipulating figures, in particular, while calculating the balance in the composition of export earnings it also accounted for export duty on oil products, which Belarus is obliged to transfer to Russia. Bearing this in mind, in the first half of 2011 “Belneftekhim” should have paid to the Federal Budget over $ 1.2 billion, which implies the real trade surplus of the concern is about $ 800 million
Over the past year, military-political relations between Minsk and Kyiv have become complicated. Due to their high inertia and peculiarities, this downward trend would be extremely difficult to overcome.
The root cause of the crisis is the absence of a common political agenda in the Belarusian-Ukrainian relations. Minsk is looking for a market for Belarusian exports in Ukraine and offers its services as a negotiation platform for the settlement of the Russo-Ukrainian war, thereby hoping to avoid political issues in the dialogue with Kiev. Meanwhile, Ukraine is hoping for political support from Minsk in the confrontation with Moscow. In addition, Ukraine’s integration with NATO presupposes her common position with the Alliance in relation to Belarus. The NATO leadership regards the Belarusian Armed Forces as an integral part of the Russian military machine in the western strategic front (the Baltic states and Poland). In addition, the ongoing military reform in Ukraine envisages a reduction in the number of generals and the domestic political struggle makes some Ukrainian top military leaders targets in politically motivated attacks.
Hence, the criticism of Belarus coming from Ukrainian military leadership is dictated primarily by internal and external political considerations, as well as by the need to protect the interests of generals, and only then by facts.
For instance, initially, the Ukrainian military leadership made statements about 100,000 Russian servicemen allegedly taking part in the Russo-Belarusian military drill West-2017. Then the exercises were labelled quazi-open and military observers from Ukraine refused to provide their assessment, which caused a negative reaction in Minsk. Further, without citing specific facts, it was stated that Russia was building up its military presence in Belarus.
Apparently, the Belarusian and Ukrainian Defence Ministries have entangled in a confrontational spiral (on the level of rhetoric). Moreover, only a small part of the overly hidden process has been disclosed. That said, third states are very likely to take advantage of the situation (or have already done so). This is not only about Russia.
The Belarusian Defence Ministry officials are restrained in assessing their Ukrainian counterparts. However, such a restraint is not enough. Current military-political relations between Belarus and Ukraine are unlikely to stabilise without the intervention of both presidents.