Putin pushes creeping takeover of Belarus in slipstream of war

Belarus: Lukashenko discusses mobilisation to harvest potatoes

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Moscow looks to form a military alliance with Belarus potentially eyeing to eventually annex the country without waging war, it has been reported. Vladimir Putin has sent troops to Belarus in a move aiming to put further pressure on Ukraine, building on his strategic synergy with Minsk.

Up to 9,000 soldiers as well as military resources and artillery have been sent to Belarus in what appears to be a “joint contingent” of the two countries, Die Welt reported.

Correspondent Christoph Wanner commented on the development saying: “I think this is a very interesting phenomenon.

“There is now a joint contingent of Belarusians and Russians and the Russians are supposed to have sent about 9,000 men, along with war technology, many tanks and howitzers.”

The journalist pointed to two reasons for the strengthening of the synergy between the two allies, one of which is to “tie down” Ukrainian troops.

The second reason would indicate that Putin is aiming at a “creeping takeover” of Belarus in the “slipstream” of the war in Ukraine, according to Mr Warren.

He said: “And I think there are two reasons why Putin is doing this. One is directly related to the war in Ukraine.

“With this large contingent on the Ukrainian border, they are trying to tie down Ukrainian troops, which are then of course missing in neuralgic areas, such as Kherson, Zaporizhzhia, or around Bakhmut.

“And the second reason is that Putin is thus forcing the creeping takeover of Belarus in the slipstream of the Ukraine war.

“It was always planned in recent years to found a union state, Belarus-Russia, and that Putin would then dominate this confederation.

“And this grip, which Putin is now advancing again, on ruler Lukashenko, can lead to the fact that this will actually all take place under Russian leadership and that Putin will then one day actually annex Belarus without having to wage war.

The defence ministry in Minsk on Sunday said just under 9,000 Russian troops would be stationed in Belarus as part of a “regional grouping” of forces to protect its borders.

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Valeriy Revenko, head of the defence ministry’s international military cooperation department, wrote on Twitter: “The first troop trains with Russian servicemen who are part of the (regional grouping) began to arrive in Belarus.

“The relocation will take several days. The total number will be a little less than 9,000 people.”

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said last week that his troops would deploy with Russian forces near the Ukrainian border, citing what he said were threats from Ukraine and the West.

Lukashenko also warned the West last week against “backing Russia into a corner”.

Additional reporting by Monika Pallenberg

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