Lukashenko: Belarus to Fight Alongside Ally Russia 'Only' if Attacked
Belarusian Pres. Aleksandr Lukashenko on Thursday told journalists in Minsk that his country — which is continuing to host Russian troops — would only join Moscow's war against Ukraine if Belarus were to come under attack, even by a single soldier....
- Belarusian Pres. Aleksandr Lukashenko on Thursday told journalists in Minsk that his country — which is continuing to host Russian troops — would only join Moscow's war against Ukraine if Belarus were to come under attack, even by a single soldier.1
- He stressed that, contrary to allegations made by Ukrainian and Western officials, the Kremlin has not asked Belarus to take part in the conflict. Lukashenko added that Minsk will not fall for Western provocations aimed at dragging the country into the war.2
- The statements came as the Belarusian leader was set to meet with Russian Pres. Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Friday, with some reports suggesting the comments were a strategic ploy to preemptively quash any request for Belarus to deploy troops to Ukraine.3
- Tensions have been mounting recently at the Ukrainian-Belarusian border. Kyiv is preparing for a renewed Russian offensive in the spring, amid concerns that Russia's close ally Belarus would facilitate or even join the Kremlin in said offensive.4
- Though military cooperation between Minsk and Moscow has been growing since Belarus was used as a staging ground for Russia's initial offensive last year, Lukashenko has not yet sent his troops to fight alongside Russian forces.5
- Lukashenko is Europe's longest-serving leader, having held the office since its establishment in 1994 after the dissolution of the USSR. He has faced domestic and international criticism over allegedly holding fraudulent elections.6
Sources: 1New York Times, 2RT, 3Washington Post, 4CNN, 5BBC News and 6FOX News.
- Pro-establishment narrative, as provided by Foreign policy. Do not be fooled by the fact that Lukashenko has not formally commanded his army to join Russia in the Ukraine war — the Belarusian dictator is deeply involved in this conflict and must be held accountable together with Putin for this aggression. The only reason he is avoiding deploying troops is that his authoritarian regime would fall if his security forces were diverted from crushing dissent in Belarus.
- Establishment-critical narrative, as provided by Belarusian telegraph agency. While the West has sent tens of thousands of mercenaries to fight in Ukraine, Belarus has not deployed a single soldier, instead constantly pressing for peace negotiations. Blaming Lukashenko for escalating the conflict is not only senseless — it reveals that US-led Western allies seek to implicate Minsk in the war to stretch the frontline, further complicating the situation of Belarusian and Russian troops.