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What would happen if Belarus joined forces with Russia against Ukraine?

Belarus is a key player in the Ukraine war. After Russia’s failed attempt to capture Kyiv, it withdrew its troops to Belarus, where it has been launching missiles and deploying nuclear weapons. Many fear that Putin will pressure Belarus to join the fight against Ukraine, which would have disastrous consequences for everyone. How would Belarus’ involvement change the course of the war? Discover the answer in our thrilling new story that explores the relationship between Russia and its loyal ally 🤒🚧🚦

By InfoPublished 9 months ago 4 min read
What if Belarus Joins War X Russia X Ukraine 🤒🚧🚦

Why Belarus Won't Join Russia's War on Ukraine (And Why That's Good)

As Russia's invasion of Ukraine flounders, Vladimir Putin has pressured his Belarusian ally to join the fray. But neither Belarus nor its dictator Alexander Lukashenko can afford the political and military risks. While Belarus remains a key staging ground for Russian forces, direct involvement could spell disaster for both regimes.

Belarus - Russia's Critical Supply Base and Safe Haven 🤒🚧🚦

Belarus - Russia's Critical Supply Base and Safe Haven

Belarus shares a long border with Ukraine and offered Russian forces a prime invasion route early in the war.

"Belarus' importance in this war can't be understated. The nation has been a staging ground for Russia's invasion of Ukraine and is now one of the most important logistical bases for the entire Russian war effort."

It was from Belarus that Russia launched its failed blitz on Kyiv before retreating back across the border. Without Belarus as an escape hatch, Russia's army could have suffered a catastrophic rout.

"But Belarus is basically like home base for the Russian army when you played tag in grade school, no tagging or bombing allowed. So, Russia was able to maintain supplies close to the Ukrainian front and continues to use the country as its own little warehouse to this day."

Unable to strike into Belarus, Ukraine watches helplessly as Russian forces use it as a rear staging area safe from attack.

Growing Pressure on Lukashenko to Join the Fight

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has so far resisted Putin's demands to send his military to support the flailing invasion. But with Russia's situation deteriorating, Lukashenko may have no choice but to enter the fray.

Lukashenko relies heavily on Russian support after barely surviving mass protests against his dictatorship. To retain Putin's favor, Lukashenko has turned Belarus into a Russian vassal state:

"In exchange, Russia had granted a stay on Belarus’ loan repayments, and even granted it another loan to the tune of $1.5 billion. Meanwhile, Lukashenko was launching what appeared to be a secret mobilization of the military and security services, with military members and police officers recently receiving summons notices."

With Russian forces bogged down and suffering heavy losses in Ukraine, Lukashenko reportedly anticipated a Ukrainian attack on Belarus and began preparing his military to potentially join the war.

But the expected assault never occurred. While Russia may yet pressure Belarus into the conflict, Lukashenko has compelling reasons to keep his forces out of the meat grinder.

Why Belarus Likely Won't Join the War 🤒🚧🚦

Why Belarus Likely Won't Join the War

Despite Putin's demands, here are 3 key factors weighing against Belarus intervening against Ukraine:

1. The Belarusian Military is No Powerhouse

Belarus fields a mediocre force of just 45,000 troops with outdated Soviet-era equipment.

"The nation does have an air force made up of 18,000 personnel, with an inventory of 34 Mig-29s, 67 Su-25s, and 4 Su-30s. However, its Mig-29 fleet received its latest upgrade in 2004, and even then, only 13 aircraft received the upgrade."

With only a fraction of its army in ready status and no recent training, the Belarusian military would be cannon fodder on the battlefield.

2. Public Opposition to the War is Strong

The Belarusian people staunchly oppose joining Russia's war. Polls show:

90% reject sending troops to Ukraine.

Only 16% think the war's outcome will benefit Belarus.

Just 9% believe Belarus should intervene.

And there are doubts that the military would follow orders to invade:

"When asked what the military would do if it was told to join the war against Ukraine, only 18% of people believed that the military would actually follow that order."

With most citizens against the war, forcing Belarus to join it could spark unrest and defections.

3. The Terrain Heavily Favors Ukraine

To attack Ukraine, Belarus must overcome vast marshlands and dug-in defenses along the border.

"All along the border with Belarus is some of the most inhospitable terrain in Europe, with vast swamps and bogs stretching into both countries."

And beavers have made the area even more flooded and treacherous for armored vehicles. Belarus lacks Russia's numbers to absorb the casualties from a frontal assault.

The Dangerous Balancing Act for Lukashenko

While staying out of the war, Lukashenko continues allowing Russian forces to operate from Belarusian soil. This support is vital for Putin while angering Belarusians.

Lukashenko likely realizes that openly joining Russia's invasion would court disaster. But refusing Putin's demands could also topple his regime if Russia loses the war.

"Lukashenko finds himself between a rock and a very hard place. If Russia loses the war, as it will inevitably do as long as western support for Ukraine holds, then Lukashenko's regime will similarly collapse as Russia descends into political turmoil."

So, while neither option is good, staying nominally neutral and hugging Putin remains Lukashenko's least terrible choice. Allowing Russian troops to use his country while keeping his own forces out of combat threads the needle for now.

Lukashenko's Balancing Act - Staying Out of the War, But Not Putin's Good Graces 🤒🚧🚦

Lukashenko's Balancing Act - Staying Out of the War, But Not Putin's Good Graces

Despite intense pressure from the Kremlin, sending Belarusian forces to die in Ukraine could destabilize Lukashenko's teetering regime. While he continues appeasing Russia to survive, direct military intervention may prove a sacrifice too far. For both the people of Belarus and Ukraine's defense, it's better if Belarus sticks to logistics and moral support rather than joining the invasion outright.



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