Ukraine believes that “it is impossible to rule out the possibility” of Belarus joining Russia’s offensive, as President Vladimir Putin is trying to convince his Belarusian counterpart, Alexander Lukashenko, to join the invasion.
“It is impossible to rule out the possibility of an invasion by Belarus. Putin is working to get Lukashenko to join the hostilities,” said Vadim Denisenko, an adviser to the Ukrainian Interior Ministry.
In this regard, Denisnko has insisted that “the Belarusians do not want to fight, which is perfectly understandable”, but if Minsk finally comes into conflict he has made it clear that the Ukrainian front “is ready”.
On several occasions the Ukrainian authorities have reported that the territory of Belarus has been used by Russia for the military deployment used in the invasion. However, Belarus has also been used to host meetings between Ukrainian and Russian delegations with the aim of trying to reach a peace agreement.
It is no secret that Putin and his Belarusian counterpart are allies. In fact, in early March Lukashenko made it clear that if the West transferred nuclear weapons to Poland or Lithuania to its country’s borders, it would turn to Putin “to recover nuclear weapons” delivered “unconditionally in 1994”.
Prior to these statements, the leader made it clear that if Russia was “directly attacked” Belarus would not hesitate to participate in the war to defend its Russian friends and to become an eventual staging ground for the offensive against Ukraine.
However, on the day of the invasion, the Belarusian leader made it clear that his troops were not “part of this operation” led by Moscow.
For these reasons, many people are wondering about the role Belarus plays in this war: Cooperation in the aggression against Ukraine or neutral ally?