Theodoros Benakis

Kremlin now threatens Belarus with invasion

Lukashenko and Putin in February 2021.

Today, Belarusian and Russian ministers signed papers that allow Russia to deploy nuclear weapons in Belarus. The Russian leaders use the nuclear threat to intimidate Ukrainians and NATO countries often as the Russian army and mercenaries experience continuous failures in the front. Moreover, the Kremlin envisages securing complete military control over Belarus despite this being a clear violation of Belarus’s non-nuclear status and non-proliferation treaties.

Under the regime of Alexander Lukashenko, Russia put Belarus under total control, installed an army, and used its territory to invade the independent and sovereign Ukraine.

However, Belarusians expressed their desire for a free and democratic country several times in the last decades. After the Russian army invaded Ukraine, the democratic opposition sabotaged the Russian military in many occasions. Belarusian soldiers and activists joined the front as volunteers and successfully fought the Russian army in Ukraine.

Support for the regime of Minsk is vital for Vladimir Putin, as an eventual collapse could trigger a sequence of events inside Russia. Moscow backs the bloody repression of Belarus citizens, tortures, imprisonments, and heavy sentences against human rights defenders, journalists, and politicians. More than 1500 citizens are in prisons for political reasons.

Concerning political prisoners, Lithuanian Minister of Foreign Affairs Gabrielius Landsbergis said before the Foreign Affairs Council on May 22: “I will ask to go ahead with the new Belarus sanction package without any weakening, without derogation. It is unacceptable that this package has been delayed for 5 months”.

The kind of “proxy” dictators such as Lukashenko usually perish when their supporter is overthrown. There is no doubt, that Minsk’s regime could not survive Putin’s end.

However, as the reactions of the Belarus society grow and the regime is completely isolated, it would not be a surprise if Lukashenko falls at any moment.

Knowing this, Dmitry Peskov, spokesman for Putin, threatened Belarusians with a full-scale invasion of their country if they attempt to overthrow the regime.

But, how seriously does the world consider the Kremlin’s anger?

Putin is losing a war of expansion that he started. As he remained unpunished after the invasion of Georgia, the war crimes committed in Syria, and the annexation of Crimea, Putin thought he could impose his will on the continent.

For the first time after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the West realised how dangerous the regime of Moscow is and decided to react compactly.

However, used to fake news and disinformation, Kremlin still believes that these “routine” threats make the world tremble.

As Belarusian politician Franak Viačorka pointed out today on Twitter, @franakviacorka, “Russians didn’t make lessons learned from Ukraine. Belarusians will fight back and won’t agree to live under the Russian yoke”.

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