The E.U.'s economy commissioner Paolo Gentiloni said the bloc "should not be intimidated" by Mr. Lukashenko's threats. Exiled Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, who now lives in Lithuania, accused the president of "bluffing" over his gas ultimatum.
Shutting off the gas transit would be disastrous for Belarus' impoverished economy, though Mr. Lukashenko has made economically irrational decisions before.
But it is also a question of international politics. The gas Mr. Lukashenko is threatening to shut off is not his - it belongs to Russia. Any decisions about its fate will be taken in Moscow. And the Russian capital is a far more pragmatic place than Minsk.
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