US officials have told Belarus they would be happy to supply all oil and gas the Eastern European nation needs after its usual supplier — Russia — turned off the spigot.
“The United States wants to help Belarus build its own sovereign country,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said at a joint presser with Belarusian Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei “Our energy producers stand ready to deliver 100% of the oil you need at competitive prices. We’re the biggest energy producer in the world and all you have to do is call us.”
Once a close Russian ally, Belarus has become more afraid of being absorbed by Russia after the nations couldn’t agree on new oil prices in 2020. Russia had insisted on greater economic integration as a condition for reduced rates.
The United States has historically had a fraught relationship with Belarus, imposing sanctions for more than a decade over human rights abuses. The country was called “Europe’s last dictatorship” by former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who served in the administration of George W. Bush.
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has held power since 1994.