Alexander Lukashenko, the president of Belarus, has denied rumors that his nation’s military might assist Russian forces in their conflict with Ukraine.
Lukashenko has become more and more dependent on Russian President Vladimir Putin to maintain his position of power ever since he won international controversy-plagued elections in 2020 and the brutal crackdown that followed on protesters and the opposition.
Although Moscow has sent troops and weapons to Belarus as a staging area for its attacks on Ukraine, Moscow has not taken a more active role in the conflict, although last month Lukashenko did mention a joint Belarusian-Russian force.
However, Lukashenko appeared to dispel rumors of greater involvement in his ally’s invasion on the sidelines of a summit of the Russia-dominated Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO).
“If we use the Armed Forces’ personnel to get involved in this conflict, we will add nothing to it,” Lukashenko said, referring to his 40,000-strong force, calling the idea of Belarusian troops entering Ukraine “total nonsense.”
“Instead, we will make matters worse. The conflict is not Belarus’ fault, “He told reporters in Yerevan, the capital of Armenia, according to Belta, the official state news agency of Belarus.
In other ways, he claimed, Belarus supports Russia’s military endeavors, but “we are not getting involved, we don’t kill anyone, and we don’t send personnel over there because there is no need for it,” he added. He also said that in order to end the war, negotiations were needed.
According to Ukrainian intelligence, Russia was preparing to launch false flag attacks on Belarusian infrastructure in an effort to draw Minsk into the conflict. Analysts, however, have questioned whether this would occur given the threat it might pose to the survival of Lukashenko’s regime and the country’s strong anti-war sentiment.
Franak Viaorka, the exiled Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya’s chief political advisor, told Newsweek earlier this month that he didn’t think Putin was interested in sending Belarusian troops to Ukraine.
However, he referred to the British defense officials’ assessment that Russia was moving MiG-31K jets and AS-24 Killjoy air launched ballistic missiles to Machulishchy airfield in the Minsk region as a “very dangerous development”
According to him, there is proof that Belarus has Kinzhal hypersonic missiles, and he expresses concern that “very soon we will see attacks from Belarusian airspace on Ukrainian infrastructure.”
Viacorka added that “we see their attempts to deploy more Iskanders [missiles], which will mean more shelling from Belarusian territory,” warning that Ukraine “will be dangerous because it does not have enough anti-air weapons” if Iran supplies drones and missiles to Russia.
He claimed that at least 4,500 Russian troops had entered Belarus and were residing there in its barracks, though they had been kept apart from Belarusian troops due to a lack of mutual trust.
“According to our information, the Belarusian army is quite negative towards Russia,” he told Newsweek. “They use the infrastructure and military facilities but there is no willingness to accept Russians on Belarus’ territory.”
The Russian Army’s advance had been halted, according to Ukrainian forces, in at least eleven locations across the nation over the previous day. This had allowed Kiev to maintain its positions, primarily in the Lugansk and Donetsk regions.