Incident with Belavia plane not to affect Belarusian-Ukrainian relations

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October 31, 2016 11:08
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The relations between Minsk and Kiev are too important for the Belarusian authorities to put them at risk. Ukraine is an important partner for Belarus in the economic, military-technical and political spheres. The incident is likely to be exhausted after Belarus completes the necessary diplomatic rituals.

The Belarusian Foreign Ministry made reprehensions over the actions of the Ukrainian authorities to force the return of a Belavia plane to Kyiv on October 21st en route Kyiv-Minsk and demanded an official apology and a compensation of all costs.

Currently, Belarus and Ukraine are in a situational alliance, albeit not a strategic one, which is very important for Minsk. The Ukrainian market is one of the most important for Belarus’ exports. Amid special nature of political relations between the leaders of the two states, Minsk has enlisted Kyiv’s support in normalising relations with the West. In addition, Belarus regards Ukraine as a major deterrent to the Kremlin's expansionist ambitions.

Despite the importance of Russia for the Belarusian foreign policy, after 2014, Belarus and Ukraine have been developing military-technical cooperation. Traditionally, they develop technological cooperation in the anti-missile systems field. For instance, following an order from Belarus, Ukrainian specialists developed a short-range anti-aircraft missile. In addition, Ukraine is likely to transfer the missile technology to Belarus. In addition, the two states cooperate in developing and producing light wheeled armoured vehicles. That said, on October 27th, Ambassador of Belarus in Ukraine Igor Sokol met with Ukrainian Secretary of the National Security and Defence Council Oleksandr Turchynov, during which they discussed a wide range bilateral issues.

Minsk regards the incident with the Belavia airliner as a regrettable misunderstanding caused by poor coordination between the Ukrainian security agencies. The scale of the incident is unlikely to affect the relationship between the two states. Both states are interested in preserving the special nature of the bilateral cooperation in all areas, including those, which rarely get media coverage.

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