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Polish terminal in Małaszewicze. The idea of ​​stopping the transit. Tadeusz Giczan’s report and expert opinions

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The response to the actions of Alyaksandr Lukashenka’s regime, which triggered the migration crisis at the borders of the European Union, may be the suspension of the transit of goods from China to the European Union via Belarusian territory, say opposition Belarusian journalists and experts in Minsk. However, such a solution could also hit the Polish economy.


Belarus is a transit country, and one of the most important pillars of the local economy are transport and logistics services, recalled the Belarusian opposition journalist Tadeusz Giczan in his report on Twitter.

He reported that in the first half of 2021, the value of Belarusian exports of transport services exceeded USD 2 billion, mainly due to transit transport between Russia and China and the European Union. The goods are transported by rail through the Belarusian Orsza, Minsk and Baranavichy, they cross the border in Terespol in Poland and stop at the Małaszewicze loading terminal, where the wheelsets are replaced or goods and containers are transhipped to continue the transit to the West.

“Despite the sanctions imposed on the Lukashenka regime, the terminal in Małaszewicze regularly breaks new records for overloaded trains from Belarus. In recent weeks, there were even 18 of them a day,” Gichan said.

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Terminal “feeder and Achilles heel”

The editor of the opposition Nexta channel believes that the terminal in Małaszewicze is one of the largest “feeders of the Belarusian regime and its Achilles’ heel at the same time, as it is located on the Polish side of the border and it is possible to block it temporarily until Lukashenka stops its hostilities.”

According to Giczan, there is an alternative for exporters and carriers in the form of transit transport through Ukraine.

Would a really temporary stop of transit through Małaszewicze force Lukashenka, which is causing the migration crisis, to “take a step back”? According to Gichan, the Belarusian regime may be forced to withdraw “not so much because of enormous financial losses, but because of fear of a Chinese reaction.”

Putin and Lukashenka during a meeting of the Supreme Council of the Union StateReuters

Szrajbman: it is, in fact, a declaration of economic war

– I have seen many calls to end the transit of goods through Poland through the Polish-Belarusian border. This is a very serious step, it would in fact be a declaration of an economic war – said in an interview with the European Radio for Belarus, Minsk analyst Arciom Szrajbman, who currently lives in Ukraine.

In his opinion, if the Polish authorities took such a step, it would cause enormous problems for China and Russia, whose goods are also delivered across this border to the European Union. And then – as he predicts – pressure on Minsk could also be exerted from the East. – In this case, the pressure would be costly for the European Union, it would be painful for everyone, but it could also be effective – he concluded.

Usau: there will be no going back

The Belarusian political scientist Pavel Usau, currently the head of the Center for Forecasts and Political Analyzes in Warsaw, reminded the newspaper “Salidarnaść” that China perceives Belarus as an important logistic center and an element of the Great Silk Road, and it was only from this perspective that Beijing considered investing in Belarus and developing cooperation with this country.

– The closure of the transit would be detrimental to the Lukashenka regime itself, as it is one of the key sources of economic stability in Belarus – the expert noted, adding that “the risks associated with this are completely understandable to the authorities in Minsk, as it is impossible to bring them back now. ” – If logistic routes bypassing Belarus are created – through Lithuania, Latvia, to a lesser extent, or possibly Ukraine – transit to Belarus will no longer be able to return – stressed Usau.

Alyaksandr Lukashenka focuses on cooperation with China Maxim Guchek / BelTA / TASS

OSW analyst: an idea dictated by the need of the moment

In an interview with tvn24.pl, the analyst of the Center for Eastern Studies, Kamil Kłysiński, said that “an unprecedented situation must lead to an unprecedented reaction, but in this case all the circumstances should be considered.” – Suspending the transit of goods to European Union countries via the terminal in Małaszewicze without closing the border with Belarus would not make sense – said the analyst, adding that “he would treat this concept as an idea dictated by the need of the moment.”

According to Kłysiński, this would be a final and radical action, and it would also be a severe blow to the Polish economy.

– Such activities affect a number of countries – not only Poland and Belarus, but also Kazakhstan, Russia and China, it is a large transit route, a system of connected vessels – emphasized the expert.

Transit and Russia’s political considerations

During one of the meetings, analysts of the international discussion club Valdaj pointed out that “almost all freight trains running between China and Europe must cross the border crossing Brest and Małaszewicze, because Russia, mainly for political reasons, does not want to allow them to run through Ukraine” . They also forecasted that this situation “may continue for a long time”.

tvn24.pl, European Radio for Belarus, gazetaby.com

Main photo source: Maxim Guchek / BelTA / TASS

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