Will Belarus support Russia militarily?
For weeks, international concern has been growing that Minsk will join Russia's war against Ukraine. Following Vladimir Putin's announcement of the delivery of nuclear-capable Iskander-M missiles to neighbouring Belarus, Alexander Lukashenka on Monday reiterated his support for Russia's actions in Ukraine. Britain has already announced new sanctions. What will happen next?
The Kremlin calls the shots in Minsk
Radio Kommersant FM sees Belarus on the verge of losing its sovereignty:
“On 3 July [Belarus' Independence Day] Lukashenko announced: 'We are the only country that supports Russia in the special operation'. He added: 'We have a de facto united army'. Ultimately the question is no longer whether Belarus will be annexed by the Russian Federation but when it will happen and how it will be achieved. There's no longer any need for bets, it's more a matter of picking petals off a daisy: He loves me, he loves me not. ... The current constellation is such that Belarus's foreign policy, military activities and sovereignty depend only on what Moscow considers appropriate.”
Putin will save this card for last
Spotmedia doubts that Belarus will actively engage in the war without further ado:
“For Lukashenka, an invasion is a double-edged sword. No matter how much he wants to pander to his senior partner, if he gives the order to invade and his troops don't obey it would be the end of the road for him. It's possible that this refusal would lead to a popular uprising that will topples him from power. Presumably Putin knows this and that is why he hasn't forced Lukashenka to join the invasion. A revolt in Belarus would mean Putin losing his last ally. That's why Putin will save the card of Belarus joining the war merry-go-round for last.”