Western fears of Belarusian invasion of Ukraine worsen

by mcardinal

Willie R. Tubbs, FISM News


Leaders in NATO and Ukraine believe Belarus has imminent plans to escalate its role in the Russia-Ukraine crisis.

As first reported by CNN, which cited officials from the U.S. and NATO, the nation which has already allowed its former Soviet hegemon to house troops and launch attacks from Belarusian soil could soon send its own fighters into the fray.

Much like Russia before, Belarus seems to be planning to create a justification to deploy thousands of combat units in aid of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who sources are all but certain is the man truly orchestrating Belarus’ escalation.

“Putin needs support,” the NATO official told CNN. “Anything would help.”

The sources cited by CNN predicted Belarusian involvement would not make a significant impact militarily but would signal trouble in terms of international affairs as the war would officially gain a third belligerent.

Underpinning a Belarusian incursion into Ukraine would be the threat of another nation joining the fight on behalf of Ukraine. No such nation has emerged, and, to date, all Western entities have expressed a desire to send only material aid to Ukraine.

Officially, the United States has said nothing regarding the potential of Belarusian escalation.

“I don’t have anything specifically with respect to Belarusian intentions,” a senior defense official said during a briefing Tuesday. “We’re … watching this as closely as we can … but nothing specific to report to in terms of Belarusian activity towards … moving in.”

That Belarus would have an affinity for Russia is hardly shocking. Not only were the two once a part of the Soviet Union, but Putin is widely credited with keeping Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko in power. Now, even at the cost of placing his own nation at further risk, Lukashenko could be ready to repay a debt.

“It is not about what Lukashenko wants,” the NATO official stressed. “The question is: does Putin want another unstable country in the region?”

Lukashenko doesn’t even seem to mind the idea of being treated as or even becoming a vassal state to Russia. In the YouTube video below, Lukashenko, seems to relish telling journalists that Putin has promised to make him an officer in the Russian military.

If it’s possible to be less popular than Putin in the West, Lukashenko might be the man who could boast the accomplishment. 

Often called Europe’s last dictator, Lukashenko has been treated as an international pariah thanks to an abysmal human rights record – his luckiest political opponents escape the country, sometimes while being pursued by Belarusian government thugs even while competing in international sport . He has also prove to earn this title through his detainment of dissident journalists and consistent aid to Putin in his invasion of Ukraine, a nation with which Belarus was at odds over a migrant crisis only last year.

Even by the standards of a staunch ally, Belarus has gone above and beyond in its help to Russia. Not only has the country allowed its hospitals to be overrun with the Russian wounded, but Belarus has actively worked to protect the number of Russian casualties within its borders.

Just two days ago, Radio Free Europe reported that Belarus had helped to smuggle the corpses of some 2,500 soldiers back into Russia; and, according to a report in the U.K.’s Telegraph, instructed hospital staff to remain silent about their work.

“It was unbelievable how many corpses there were,” one witness told Radio Free Europe, later adding, “Passengers at the Mazyr train station were shocked by the number of corpses being loaded on the train. After people started shooting video, the military caught them and ordered them to remove it.”

Belarus and Lukashenko have an extensive history of riling the West.

In mid-2021, prior to the migrant crisis, Lukashenko closed the Belarusian border with Ukraine. This was in response to a Western outcry when agents believed to have been working on behalf of Belarus used a bomb threat to force a Ryanair flight to divert from its intended destination of Lithuania to Minsk, where the plane was searched and a dissident journalist and his girlfriend were arrested.  

Lukashenko was once banned from attending the Olympics, and this was before the world learned of Belarus’ attempt to forcibly remove a Belarusian female sprinter after she complained on Instagram of having been mistreated by her coaches.

In 2020, the European Union imposed sanctions on Belarusian officials for failing to hold a fair election. The United Kingdom took the additional step of sanctioning Lukashenko, who is undefeated in Belarusian presidential elections dating to 1994.

More recently, the entirety of the West has struck Belarus with the same sanctions as have been imposed on Russia, a move almost certain to send the Belarusian economy into a tailspin. As explained in more detail by Fox Business, Belarus’ economy had been improving in recent years, but still yields one of the lowest average salaries in Europe and, at its strongest, a GDP that would be bested by most American states.  

Belarus, though, has remained relentless in its efforts to needle the West. Tuesday, The Daily Beast reported that Belarus had granted asylum to Evan Neumann, an American wanted in connection with the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot.

The Daily Beast translated a statement from the Belarusian government as having read, “U.S. citizen Evan Neumann has received refugee status in Belarus. The document was handed to him today in the Department of Citizenship and Migration of the Internal Affairs Directorate of the Brest Regional Executive Committee.”

Neumann was quoted as having said, “I feel safe in Belarus. It’s calm, I like it in this country. Today I am experiencing mixed feelings. I’m glad that Belarus has taken care of me. I’m upset that I wound up in this situation, that in my native country there were such problems.”

Even in this matter Lukashenko has taken a page from Putin, who famously granted asylum to Edward Snowden when he was sought by the Obama Justice department for having leaked highly classified information he acquired through his work with the National Security Administration.