Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko de facto recognized Crimea as part of Russia. He thereby made Ukraine face a dilemma: either take punitive measures against Belarus or lose electricity supplies before winter, which is a matter of survival for Ukraine.
Lukashenko no longer sets any conditions for his visit to Crimea.
On November 4, President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko complained during his video conference with Vladimir Putin that the latter should have taken him to Crimea. Putin responded to Lukashenko that he would be happy to show him the new memorial complex in Sevastopol dedicated to the end of the Civil War.
The head of the Belarusian community of Crimea, Roman Chegrinets, told Crimea 24 that Lukashenko's remarks came as his de facto recognition of Crimea as Russian territory.
"Lukashenko's visit to Crimea will mean that Belarus recognises Crimea as Russia. In fact, Belarus has de facto recognized Crimea already," Chegrinets said.
In August, Lukashenko announced his readiness to recognize the Russian status of the Crimean Peninsula after "the Russian oligarchs do it first." Now he does not set forth any conditions for such a move.
Lukashenko also noted that his hands were untied to resume flights between Belarus and Crimea, and this became possible because of the actions of the Ukrainian authorities.
The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry reacted immediately to Lukashenko's announcement that he made in August. On August 10, the Charge d'Affaires of Belarus to Ukraine Kirill Kamyshev was summoned to the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry, where he received a note of protest in connection with Lukashenko's statements.
"Lukashenko's expressed readiness to recognize Russian sovereignty over Crimea is tantamount to his complicity in the Kremlin's crime against the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine, with all ensuing international legal consequences," the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said in a statement in August.
This time, Kiev has not showed any reaction to Lukasheno's desire to come to Crimea. This is no coincidence, because it was only Belarus that promised Kiev extricate from the energy crisis. In early November, Belarus provided urgent assistance to Kiev in terms of electric power supplies.
Ukraine is now facing the problem of surviving the forthcoming winter. As many as 50 percent of local powers plants in Ukraine had to be stopped on account of the shortage of coal supplies.
"The main thing is to provide Ukrainians with heat in winter, and one may negotiate on this topic even with the devil," Ukrainian MP Alexander Kachura said.
He is sure that one should differentiate between Lukashenko, the people and the economy of Belarus. A representative for the Batkivshchyna party, Aleksey Kucherenko, stated that President Volodymyr Zelensky was not capable of assessing the situation in advance, not even for three months ahead.
"The shortage of electricity is a serious problem. What are we going to do when blackouts start, including, God forbid, in hospitals?" Ivan Krulko, First Deputy Chairman of the Budget Committee said.
It appears that Ukraine starts regretting its thoughtless integration with the EU and the termination of relations with the Russian Federation.
The Committee of the Verkhovna Rada on Economic Development on Thursday approved the recommendation to the government to launch the process to revise the Association Agreement with the EU, which, according to the committee, did not work to Ukraine's benefit.
"During the period of the association agreement, we have not compensated for the damage from the loss of the Russian market. EU's share in Ukrainian exports has increased largely due to the reduction of the share of the Customs Union countries. We experience severe deficit of the trade balance with the EU, even if we do not take into account reverse gas supplies. The structure of exports is based on raw materials, and imports are mainly high-tech goods," said Dmitry Kisilevsky, deputy head of the Rada's committee.
On November 4, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko signed an integration decree of the Union State following a meeting of the Supreme State Council.
"The Union State is a priority of all priorities for Belarus. In fact, we are starting to reboot our joint economic space,” said Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko.