Vladimir Putin's most loyal foreign ally is likely too scared to risk sending troops into Ukraine 'fearing the end of his regime', experts have said.
According to the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko will "demonstrate at least nominal support" by allowing Russia to continue entering his airspace.
However, their report on Monday (July 11) on the Ukraine conflict states that Lukashenko will likely avoid "direct military involvement of Belarusian Armed Forces in operations in Ukraine" despite Putin "putting pressure on him" to get more involved.
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In February, amid the global condemnation when Putin launched his "special military operation", Belarus was among a handful of countries to support it.
Belarus borders both Russia and Ukraine, sitting north of the latter, and has been a key staging point for Russian advances into enemy territory.
The ISW's assertion that Putin is likely putting pressure on Lukashenko to deploy forces into Ukraine comes amid mounting Russian casualties (Ukraine's latest estimate is 37,570 Russian soldiers killed since February) and news that Putin is looking to draft Russian prisoners onto the front lines.
In their latest assessment the ISW writes: "The likelihood of direct Belarusian involvement in the war in Ukraine remains low due to the effect that might have on the stability and even survival of Lukashenko’s regime."
Previously, the Express reported that on July 3 senior officers from the fifth brigade of the Belarusian Special Forces warned their leader that sending soldiers into Ukraine would be "pure suicide".
They wrote: "Russia's occupation of the internationally recognised territory of Ukraine, which is friend of our state, and its attempt to pull Belarus into a completely unprovoked war against a sovereign state can only be seen as the destruction of the sovereignty of Belarus.
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"By entering the war against Ukraine, Belarus will be evicted from the community of civilised states and will be an international outcast for many years to come.
"To join Russia in its fight against Ukraine would be an act of pure suicide."
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