- Alina Isachenko
- BBC Russian Service, London
Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine raised the question of Belarus’ role in this conflict. Alexander Lukashenko formally denies the participation of the Belarusian military in the war, although it is not restored that this could change if Minsk inevitably helps Putin. Opposition leaders accuse Lukashenka of state administration, as well as export, that Belarus will already become part of the Russian military operation in the future.
On February 24, a video appeared on the telegram channel “Belarus beyond the Mkad” (recognized as extremist) in which a column of tanks and military trucks, the day before yesterday of the channel, was moving towards Pripyat (south).
Soon, the facts of the discovery that the Russian army was conducting military operations on the territory of Belarus scattered across social networks and the media. One of the videos shows how helicopters take off (according to the Telegram channel, not far from the border with Ukraine), on the other, columns of military equipment move (presumably on the road from Gomel to Svetlogorsk).
Social networks regularly receive messages about unscheduled calls of Belarusians to the military registration and enlistment office.
Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Valery Zazhenny announced the improvement of four-ballistic missiles from the territory of Belarus. Through Belarus, Russian troops entered the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant Zone (the information was confirmed by Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine Anton Gerashchenko).
On February 24, the border service of Ukraine announced the attack of Russian troops, which are meeting from Belarus. Alexander Lukashenko responded by saying that Belarusian coronaviruses were not accepted during the Kremlin’s operation, calling the Ukrainian authorities scoundrels.
“They say again: our troops are not there.
Opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya released a statement accusing Lukashenka of the magazine of “a perfidious act of aggression,” a cabinet that the regime shares full responsibility for Russia’s actions.
According to a poll conducted by the Royal Institute of International Affairs “Chatham House”, 79% of respondents consider the possible death of Belarusian soldiers in the war between Russia and Ukraine unacceptable (this is the wording used by “Chatham House”). More than half of the respondents believe that Belarus should remain neutral in the Russian-Ukrainian conflict.
“Belarus has already crossed the red line”
Experts, the BBC spoke with periodicity, agree that the Lukashenka regime has already become part of the Russian military operation, despite the fact that the government still denies this.
“There is a violation of the international obligations of Belarus, for example, to Ukraine, and the Constitutional device itself,” Arkady Moshes, director of the research program for the Eastern Neighborhood of the EU and Russia at the Finnish Institute of International Relations, told the BBC. To date, Belarus has already stood up for the red line.
The constitution of Belarus spells out its neutral, prohibiting the status of acceptance in hostilities (this item has already been proposed to be canceled in the new amendments). However, according to the employees of the Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA) Ekaterina Glod, there is no need to talk about the consequences of the consequences in the Belarusian realities – the Constitution can be violated and changed as the regime wishes.
“I think Lukashenka is talking about preventing participation in hostilities, but he believes that he has minimal room for maneuver today,” Ekaterina Glod believes. “He depends on the Kremlin both politically and economically, and he will do what Putin: If Putin soon began a military operation with the territory of Belarus, then Lukashenka will be forced to agree.”
According to the Belarusian opposition politician Anatoly Lebedko, similar to the incident with the fact that Lukashenka is an illegitimate leader. “When people are not waiting for you, you have to sacrifice something in exchange for this support,” Lebedko believes. “Lukashenko is selling parts of the country’s sovereignty to Putin in exchange for his political and military support. Forms of actual complicity in a crime against humanity.”
On February 16, Belarusian Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei said that not a single Russian army belongs on the territory of the country after one end of the game. However, soon after Lukashenka’s “consultations” with the Kremlin, the Belarusian Defense Ministry reported that the troops were marching for an indefinite period. According to Anatolia Lebedko and Arkady Moshes, this episode is an accusation that Lukashenka has lost control over the investigation in his own country.
“This is the end of Lukashenka in the form we knew him in Belarus,” says Moshes. “He has lost the status of the master, he has lost the status of the ruler of the land. There are 30 thousand military personnel of a foreign army on the territory of his country, and by and large he has not even been identified. does he want it.
“Lukashenko will look more and more like Kadyrov. This is a kind of formation within the Russian Federation, where Russian laws are not followed and the leader performs technical functions for the Kremlin. Lukashenka is no longer de facto engaged in the country,” Anatoly Lebedko believes.
On February 24, a Western country filed a complaint against Belarus for participating in the conflict unleashed by the Kremlin.
The US sanctions will affect 24 individuals and legal entities, enterprises of the defense and financial sectors that work closely with Russia. The list also includes Belarusian Defense Minister Viktor Khrenin.
In turn, the UK tightened sanctions against Russia and extended them to Belarus.
According to Ekaterina Glod, sanctions against Belarus will not only make Minsk even more economically dependent on Russia (which is already helping because of the dependence of the West), but may also lead to a deterioration in economic relations with Ukraine.
In 2016, Ukraine ranked second among all trade partners of Belarus. In January-May 2021, the trade turnover between the countries of the world amounted to 2.3 billion. The export of Belarusian goods to Ukraine harvested 1.7 billion (mainly oil products, food, trucks).
“Now Ukraine considers Belarus as an aggressor state, I think that Belarus will greatly affect trade, especially before it stops,” Glod believes. “The problem with paying off the full external debt has gone. potash fertilizers.
“It is already clear today that Belarus is giving a specific version of the situation with Russia,” says Arkady Moshes. politics of pressure and sentiment, not consent.”