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How Belarus Embracing Putin Would Affect the Ukraine Conflict

Putin expects Belarus to cooperate in his attack on Northern Ukraine. What would an unified front between Russia and Belarus entail for Ukraine? Check out today's huge new film, which examines the consequences for Belarus if they chose to throw their armed services might behind Putin. 🚨😀😀🚨

By InfoPublished about a year ago β€’ 6 min read
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RUssia and Belarus X Ukraine 🚨😀😀🚨

Putin expects Belarus to cooperate in his attack on Northern Ukraine. What would an unified front between Russia and Belarus entail for Ukraine? Check out today's huge new film, which examines the consequences for Belarus if they chose to throw their armed services might behind Putin. 🚨😀😀🚨

A full-fledged military alliance between Putin and Belarus's president, Alexander Lukashenko, has yet to materialize. However, it's 2022; is that possible? Rumored to have the second-most powerful military in the world, with annual defense spending hovering around 62 billion dollars, Russia launches an idiotic invasion of Ukraine, a much smaller country that spends only one-tenth of that amount on defense. In the first eight months of the conflict, Ukraine and its valiant military have outperformed expectations, halting the advance of a military force with five times as many soldiers, six times as many armored vehicles, sixteen times as many naval ships, and thirty times as many aircraft than their adversaries, according to comparison graphs. Tensions are at an all-time high at the Belarussian border as the conflict in eastern Ukraine continues.

The conflict along this border has long since subsided. But ever since Russia's invasion began with a failed attempt to seize Kyiv from staging areas in Belarus, Belarus and Ukraine have been wary of one another. The 674-mile-long Ukrainian border is currently regularly patrolled by police from Belarus. Occasionally, Belarusian security personnel complain that Ukrainian soldiers illegally cross the border to take pictures, look for vulnerabilities, or even bury unidentified objects in the snow. On the other hand, Ukraine is justified in fearing Belarusian intervention due to the persistent danger that Russia's ostensibly independent western neighbor may finally join the conflict and storm across the border in force. As a result, Ukrainian forces must be ready by blowing bridges, mining the approaches, and sabotaging power and communication lines.

But could Belarusian involvement push Ukraine over the edge? Why hasn't Lukashenko joined Putin's campaign to de-Nazify Zelenskyy, the Jewish president of Ukraine? On November 18, 2022, Lukashenko stood before a rapt audience of 600 workers and business leaders in the Belarusian agricultural sector while sporting an impressive comb-over and mustache combination. In response to the global American fast food chain's decision to leave the country in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the man there declared that all McDonald's franchises in Belarus would be rebranded by a Russian replacement. "Thank God it's leaving. β€œWe ourselves should do what McDonald's did if someone needs it," he continued.

And even better, why not split a bun in half, stuff it with potatoes, salad, and a piece of meat? I'm not sure who will eat it, but it would be better that way. Although Lukashenko's criticism of McDonald's may seem strange, it illustrates the degree to which Belarus' ruling class has sided with Russia's recent anti-Western rhetoric and aggressive foreign policy. This is not surprising given Belarus' long-term trend of turning more toward Russia and away from the West. The supposedly independent nation was forced to join Putin in his war, and Lukashenko's attack on the Golden Arches was just a way for him to prove his allegiance to the Kremlin. The relationship between Putin and Lukashenko after the fall of the Soviet Union seems stronger than ever.

The Lukashenko government cordially received Russian military forces on its soil in January 2022. They assured the world that Russian forces were only here to conduct military drills. They will leave once they are finished. As we all know, Putin ultimately used Belarusian territory as a staging area and launch pad for his unsuccessful February offensive on Kyiv. It appeared as though Putin had pushed Lukashenko to the verge of war by using Belarusian airfields, Belarusian military installations, and Belarusian railroads to launch aircraft, fire missiles, and transport supplies to beleaguered Russian troops. But despite his facilitation of the invasion, Belarus has never formally pledged its forces to the battle. Since the start of the conflict, Lukashenko has not objected to his own saber-rattling.

However, Lukashenko's fragile government has also faced an existential crisis as a result of Russia's unprovoked invasion. Lukashenko has seen his relationship with Putin become more and more one-sided. Once poised to forge its own economic and political independence by leveraging its location between resource-rich Russia and merchandise-rich Europe, Putin's political support, which the Belarusian dictator desperately needs to maintain his position in power, would immediately disappear if Lukashenko didn't agree to all of Russia's demands. The next concern is what would happen if Putin requested additional favors and coerced Belarus into joining the conflict. What kind of effect would the country have on the conflict?

According to one commentator, if Moscow is successful in entangling Belarusians in the fighting, the quick devastation of the under-equipped Belarusian army will cause serious domestic instability, forcing Russia to swallow up Belarus permanently. The conflict in Ukraine has had disastrous knock-on effects for the Belarusian economy, however, and Belarus has already been transformed into a semi-offshore territory for Russia. Belarus derived the majority of its income before the conflict from intermediary activities such as transit fees. Belarus could charge lucrative transit fees on Russian oil and gas traveling to Europe thanks to its special access to Russia. These funds, along with state-controlled smuggling networks, tax evasion, and the redistribution of raw materials, supported the Belarusian regime by serving as the foundation for state-funded social programs, Soviet-style construction projects, and the bought allegiance of bureaucrats and other influential individuals.

By 2020, two state-owned oil refineries in Novopolotsk and Mozyr will have produced 14 percent of all Belarusian exports and 20 percent of the country's budgetary receipts. All of this was altered by the war. Refineries in Belarus lost access to all of their markets in Europe and Ukraine as wealthy western nations around the world started to sanction Russia and Belarus by association. Five months into the conflict, Belarusian oil exports to the EU fell by 99 percent, while oil shipments to Ukraine decreased from 249 million to just 19 million. Belarus is no longer able to benefit from being the 4 billion dollar industry's economic gateway between Europe and Russia because it is now a pariah on the global stage. Minsk currently has just one significant market for its products outside of Russia due to stagnant production and income, with such a fragile economy and an untrained army.

We might not need to worry about this at all. Could Belarus really turn the tide of the war? One month into the invasion, 75 of the Belarusian respondents to a survey by the British policy think tank Chatham House voiced unfavorable opinions. The people of Belarus may finally succumb to a weak economy coupled with an unpopular war. A revolt would probably happen. And it's unlikely that Putin will receive assistance from the east with his forces concentrated on Ukraine. Even more than a hundred Belarusian volunteers are serving in the Ukrainian Armed Forces in the Kalinovsky regiment, of which dozens have died in action. One of their members told a BBC journalist that, according to his sources in the Belarusian army, 90 percent of the army won't fight.

They claim that the training and morale are even worse than in the Russian army. But if Putin is successful in involving Belarus in the conflict without toppling Lukashenko, What effect could the country have on the conflict? Recently, Putin announced the annexation of four Ukrainian regions, a development that could easily lead to Belarusian involvement. Similar to NATO's Article 5 principle of collective defense, which states that an attack on one is an attack on all, Lukashenko's Belarusian regime is a product of a series of political-military accords that serve as the foundation of an integrated Union State between Russia and Belarus. These accords were initially made to recreate the closeness that Soviet nations experienced during the height of the Cold War.

An addendum to this agreement was added in November 2021 as a result of pressure from Putin. According to this modification, any military action against one of its constituents constitutes an attack on the Union State as a whole. The decision restored Belarus to its pre-war status but did not involve it in military operations because, as it turns out, Russia invaded Ukraine rather than the other way around. But would Lukashenko have to respond if Putin decided to characterize recent Ukrainian counteroffensives into Russian annexation regions as an assault on Russian territory? Belarus currently has a 65,000-strong army, with a third being support staff and cadets.

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