Belarus, after being accused by Russia of re-exporting banned products, has reinstated customs checkpoints at the Russian-Belarusian border that had been cancelled during the creation of the Eurasian Customs Union, reports RBC, citing the Federal Customs Service of Russia, December 8. According to the report, both freight trucks and passenger cars are subject to the inspections, which have resulted in huge traffic jams at the border.
“The Federal Customs Service confirms that the Belarusian customs offices have resumed their work at the border with the Russian Federation. On our side there are no customs inspections,” Elena Grach, a spokesperson for the Russian customs service, told TASS, according to Ukrainska Pravda.
On December 6, Belarusian customs officials began extensive and thorough inspections of trucks arriving from Russia to Belarus. Border guards and customs officers say they intend to stop any illegal attempts to transport fuel or other prohibited items. Eyewitness accounts posted in social media confirm that as a result of the inspections lines at the checkpoints now stretch for several kilometers.
The customs posts on the borders with Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan were eliminated on July 2011 as part of the Eurasian Customs Union agreements. After Russia introduced anti-sanction sanctions against the EU, Canada, the US, and a few other countries in August 2014, Moscow has repeatedly accused Belarus of re-exporting banned products and unloading them in Russia while claiming to transit them to Kazakhstan through Russia.
Russia introduced restrictive measures on November 24 , requiring all trucks, including transit trucks, to be inspected at the Russian border, even after they had been inspected by Belarusian customs officers.
Starting on November 30, Russian customs controls were tightened when the Russian Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance banned the transit of food products from Belarus through Russia to Kazakhstan and other countries. Furthermore, products of a number of Belarusian meat and poultry producers were prohibited from entering Russian territory. According to the Russian agency, the products did not meet the standards and requirements of Russian legislation because of the detection of microbial contamination, antibiotics and traces of the African swine fever virus.
Negotiations between the relevant Moscow and Minsk departments were not successful. Lukashenko accused his own government of “spinelessness” and the Russian government of violating agreements. “Russian has behaved indecently and has proceed to violate all the agreements we had reached in the (Eurasian) Customs Union,” he said.