Putin ally admits friendly relationship that saved country from Russian invasion
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said on Friday that the lack of a cordial relationship with Moscow and the Russian president Vladimir Putin it could have resulted in Belarus being in the same position as Ukraine.
Lukashenko made the comments during a meeting on cooperation issues between Belarus and Russia, the BelTA news agency reported. The meeting precedes a summit between the two nations scheduled for Monday in Minsk, the capital of Belarus.
“We will never be enemies of Russia,” Lukashenko said. “And we will never turn our backs on Russia. This is the closest country to us, our closest peoples. I think that as long as we are in power, we will follow this trend. If it had been otherwise, it would have been like in Ukraine.” .”
Lukashenko said his country is with Russia, but “as a sovereign and independent state”, adding that it controls its own territory.
Since Putin launched his invasion of Ukraine on February 24, Belarus has become one of Russia’s closest strategic allies as Putin faces rebuke from the West. Lukashenko has publicly supported the Russian leader, including allow Russian troops into Ukraine from the Belarusian-Ukrainian border, providing closer access to the capital city of Kyiv.
“I say this with absolute sincerity: with all the difficulties, if the Russian Federation, the leadership, wants to build relations with the independent sovereign state of Belarus, if Russia perceives us as a sovereign and independent state, but very close, very reliable, where reveres everything Russian, from the language to Russian traditions, we are ready to build relations,” Lukashenko said on Friday. “However, we must always start from the premise that we are a sovereign and independent state.”
Rumors have abounded in recent months about the military insertion of Belarus into the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine. Ukrainian officials previously warned Belarus that the country would “respond as harshly as we respond to all invaders on the territory of Ukraine.”
Even if the soldiers were ordered by Minsk to join the war effort, the UK Ministry of Defense has expressed uncertainty about the impact of Belarus in this theoretical setting. Meanwhile, in a report from earlier this week, the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) argues that Belarus’s involvement remains “extraordinarily unlikely”.
would pose possible long-term consequences for Belarus itselfJaved Ali, a University of Michigan professor specializing in international politics and diplomacy, said earlier. news week.
“It comes with considerable risks for Belarusians. Look at the blows the Russian army has received in Ukraine,” Ali said. “Belarus is such a small country. It has such limited military resources. Losing a few hundred soldiers or a couple thousand would be devastating for them.”
Artyom Shraibman, a non-resident scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, previously said news week that it sees “zero evidence” of any coercion on behalf of Putin.
He said multiple indicators actually exemplify economic relations between Minsk and Moscow, suggesting that Putin is acceding to numerous Lukashenko demands, such as giving him even cheaper oil than before, restructuring old loans, granting new ones and providing access to Russia. . ports for Belarus to redirect its sanctioned exports.
“The narrative that Lukashenko is resisting some mythical pressure from Moscow is very popular, I know,” said Shraibman, who is originally from Belarus but now lives in Poland. “But the evidence of this are [sic] just non existent. At least in my sight.”
As part of next week’s summit, Lukashenko said the Belarusian and Russian officials will mainly discuss the economy and “talk about the military-political situation in our states.”