Moscow and Minsk plan joint military task force

Two days after the explosion on the Crimean Bridge on 8 October, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenka announced his intention to form a joint regional military task force with Russia, which would be stationed in Belarus. He cited Ukraine's alleged plans for an attack as the reason for the move. This has renewed fears in Europe's press that Belarus could join Russia in its war against Ukraine.

Open/close all quotes (UA) /

Inevitably pulled into the war

Very soon Belarusian troops will be fighting in Ukraine, writes Natalia Radina, chief editor of the oppositional Belarusian portal Charta97, on Gordonua:

“It's only a matter of time before the Belarusian army enters the war. Today it became clear that that day is not far off. But one thing is also clear: an escalation of the situation will only accelerate the fall of the dictatorial regime in Belarus. Lukashenka has manoeuvred himself into a corner from which there will be no escape.”

Polityka (PL) /

Playing for time

Lukashenka is in a delicate situation, Polityka suspects:

“Either he loses power due to popular protests, or the Kremlin overthrows him. The latter option gives him some room for manoeuvre. Naturally, he knows that Moscow can simply replace him with an officer from the Belarusian power apparatus, which is deeply infiltrated by the Russian secret services. ... Lukashenka may be counting on simply handing over equipment, training grounds and logistical facilities to the Russians, and reaffirming his loyalty in order to postpone the real risk of going to war. Playing for time makes sense as long as it allows Putin to maintain the illusion of a strong leader who has loyal allies.”

Krytyka Polityczna (PL) /

Don't condemn the Belarusians

The democracy movement in Belarus deserves more attention, Krytyka Polityczna argues:

“Unlike the Ukrainians, the free Belarusians never had the country even halfway under their control, nor a local administration, nor full pluralism in parliament. For more than a quarter of a century Belarusian democracy has been nothing but a farce. That people took to the streets in such numbers at all in 2020 can only be described as a genuine miracle. ... But instead of being motivated to persevere so that they can rise up once more under favourable circumstances, both inside and outside Ukraine they are frequently accused and branded accomplices.”