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Belarus is Preparing for War

Updated: Apr 23

On April 2, during a working trip to Grodno, Alexander Lukashenko announced that Belarus is preparing for war. He added that the Belarusian troops were undergoing training, while more equipment was being supplied to military units. The statement suggests that the regime is preparing the public in Belarus for an actual war. We don’t need to threaten anyone. We don’t crave others’ lands. In fact, we pray to God to give us strength to cultivate the land we already have Lukashenko noted.

Belarus’ involvement in the Ukrainian conflict would escalate tensions along the Ukraine-Belarus border, forcing Kyiv to redirect some of its reserve forces from the frontline to guard against potential attacks. This strategic shift could allow Russian forces to advance toward Kharkiv or Sumy, aligning with previous alerts about a possible Russian assault on these cities. This development becomes more likely amid a slowdown in the U.S. military support for Ukraine, potentially enabling Moscow to hold Washington accountable for Kyiv's downfall, drawing comparisons to the withdrawal from Afghanistan and the subsequent collapse of Kabul's pro-Western regime. Through this strategy, the Kremlin aims to undermine the perception of the U.S. as a reliable security ally for Europe.

Recently, there was an announcement about the deployment of Patriot long-range air defence systems  from the Netherlands to Lithuania. These NATO plans are probably creating discomfort for Lukhashenko and further Russian plans with Belarus, and with using Belarusian territory for their operations on the border with NATO.

The entry of Belarus into the conflict in Ukraine would significantly escalate tensions along the EU/NATO eastern flank, bringing the spectre of conflict directly to Europe's doorstep. This move would equip Putin with a formidable leverage mechanism over the West, either to diminish its support for Ukraine or to compel Kyiv into negotiations with Moscow. Furthermore, involving Belarus could enable Putin to frame the ongoing “Special Military Operation” as a battle for the "Russian Heartland", as a region that is crucial for Russia's security and survival. Such a narrative could serve to justify increased control over the Russian population, ongoing mobilisation efforts, and any atrocities committed by Russian forces in Ukraine.

There have been reports claiming that the Kremlin is currently attempting to stage terrorist attacks within Belarus, aiming to attribute these actions to the Kalinovsky Regiment, a group opposed to Lukashenko that has been combating Russia alongside Ukrainian forces.

The European Parliament has formally held Alexander Lukashenko accountable for supporting Moscow's invasion of Ukraine by providing Russian forces with ammunition and equipment, in addition to being involved in the forceful relocation of Ukrainian children. Lukashenko has stated Belarus' readiness to permit Russia to use its territory to resume assault on Ukraine and expressed his willingness to enter the conflict, should Ukraine show any "aggression" towards Belarus.

Increasing pressure from Putin on Lukashenko to engage directly into the war in Ukraine, could lead to the fall of Lukashenko’s regime. Putin is asking Belarus to engage in the war and support operations in Ukraine. However, Lukashenko repeatedly says that his military is preparing. In this way, he is trying to deflect Putin’s wishes and avoid sending Belarus troops in Ukraine.

Lukashenko also discussed the readiness of the Belarusian military to launch attacks on regions of Poland or Lithuania, if deemed necessary.

The Suwałki Corridor, a strategic passage that links two EU and NATO members, Poland and Lithuania, lies connecting Kaliningrad, a Russian Baltic Sea enclave and Belarus.

Lukashenko's statements have increased concerns over the viability of the Suwałki Corridor, and have included directives to prepare for a potential confrontation between the Belarusian army and the Baltic states, alongside Poland.

Image: The Presidential Press and Information Office's of Azerbaijan

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