Belarus Increases State Funding For Investment Programmes By 50%

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Security and weapons smugglings controls are being increased as restrictions are tightened, but Europe may face future gun control problems.   

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has issued an order to increase financing for the state investment program for 2022 by 50%, with funding slated to also go toward projects for which financing was suspended due to sanctions.

“An additional BYR357.1 million will be allocated for the implementation of the measures of the state investment program in 2022. As a result, it will total BYR1.052 billion (US$409.9 million at the current exchange rate) instead of the previously planned BYR695 million,” the president’s press service reported.

“Additional funds will be allocated for construction of national roads and bridges, the continuation of construction of facilities for which financing was suspended by international financial organizations, construction of a water deironization plant, and the design and construction of housing for military personnel and civil servants.”

Belarus is wary of being a conduit for weapons trafficking from Ukraine and is engaging in tighter internal security arrangements to deal with the situation. Weapons smuggling from Ukraine had been a serious issue even prior to the Russian conflict as this 2016 report illustrates – the Ukrainian mafia have long been known as European weapons dealers. Even during the existing conflict there are serious concerns that Ukraine is selling US and EU supplied weapons on the black market which is likely to lead to later atrocities both in Europe as well as into the Middle East, Africa and Central Asia.

The Belarus measures being taken will make it possible to increase the number of security facilities to be completed this year from 48 to 60, improve transport infrastructure and accelerate work on increasing construction of government buildings.

Belarus is under sanctions from the EU as concerns its role in the Ukrainian conflict, a situation that has not endeared Minsk to cooperation with Brussels over these issues, but which is likely to tighten smuggling routes into Russia. Private gun ownership in Russia is about 7.3 million guns, and the country has strict arms controls. That compares with 393 million privately owned firearms in the United States, according to an estimate by the Switzerland-based Small Arms Survey — or in other words, 120 guns for every 100 Americans. The European rate however especially on the black market can be expected to climb in coming years as the second hand, export resale market in Ukraine reaches stratospheric levels. Countries such as Sweden are already experiencing serious problems with the issue.

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