Russia slams U.S. economic sanctions against Belarus
( RIA Novosti ) - Russia's premier described economic sanctions introduced by the U.S. in mid-November against Belarus's national petrochemical company as "politicized and unacceptable."
"We find this decision politicized, and believe it unacceptable to pressurize Belarus under various pretexts," said Viktor Zubkov following a session of Russian and Belarusian ministers.
The United States introduced sanctions against Belneftekhim and froze the assets of its U.S. subsidiary, which Belarus said breached a bilateral trade deal, designed to give better access for Belarusian goods and services, as well as the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT).
Belarus, whose President Alexander Lukashenko has been dubbed "Europe's last dictator" by the U.S., signed the Lisbon protocol to the NPT in 1992.
Belarusian Prime Minister Sergei Sidorsky in turn said the U.S. sanctions violated international law and non-interference principles. "The actions against Belarus are discriminatory," he said.
Russia and Belarus, the ex-Soviet neighbors, have been in talks since 1997 over building a Union State, but the negotiations have been complicated by a host of issues, including energy and financial disputes, as well as division of power.