Belarus to lose 30% of exports to Western sanctions in 2022 - BelTA

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May 25 (Reuters) - Belarusian exports are expected to slump by 30% in 2022, and export revenue to decline by up to $14 billion due to Western sanctions against Minsk, state news agency BelTA quoted First Deputy Prime Minister Nikolai Snopkov as saying on Wednesday.

Belarus and Russia were hit by sanctions after Moscow sent tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine on Feb. 24 from Russian and Belarusian territory. Minsk was also heavily sanctioned last year after the interception of a Ryanair plane and the arrest of a dissident journalist onboard.

Snopkov said that Western sanctions directly affected 20% of the Belarusian economy, resulting in a 2.3% shortfall in its gross domestic product (GDP) in the first quarter.

"The final plan of the West is to strike at the living standards of our people, cause discontent and, social tension by weakening the potential of key industries and sectors of the economy," BelTA quoted Snopkov as saying.

The West introduced sanctions against key sectors of the Belarusian economy, including potash exports. Belarus is the world's third-largest producer of the crop nutrient after Canada and Russia.

Belarusian Prime Minister Roman Golovchenko said in mid-May that the sanctions imposed on Belarus had blocked $16-$18 billion worth of its annual exports to the West.

Snopkov said Belarus hopes to partially compensate for its economic losses by boosting exports to Russia by 40%.

Belarus' 2021 exports to the European Union and Ukraine totalled $9.5 billion and $5.4 billion, respectively. (Reporting by Reuters; Editing by Bernadette Baum)

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