Plans of Putin and Lukashenko: provocations against Lithuania or a second front in Ukraine

Putin and Lukashenko's plans: provocations against Lithuania or a second front in Ukraine

The presidents of Russia and Belarus may be plotting some kind of combination in which they can be involved Ukraine and some other neighbors of Belarus. In any case, something is being prepared now, judging by their latest steps.

Lukashenko suddenly appeared

Just a couple of days ago, Moscow announced that Russian President Vladimir Putin intended to arrive at the end of July in Grodno, Belarus, to the Forum of the Regions of the Union State, which will be held on June 30 and July 1.

And then all of a sudden, the same Moscow unexpectedly reports that Alexander Lukashenko showed up to Putin in the Moscow region on June 23.

“Putin and Lukashenko will hold an informal meeting, closed to the media, in Zavidovo (Putin's residence. – Ed.). At the residence in Zavidovo, they have informal communication, which they will interrupt because the Russian president will take part in the BRICS summit (a group of five countries: Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa. – Ed.).

And on June 25, according to Peskov, Lukashenko and Putin will hold a working meeting in St. Petersburg. Officially, they will discuss relations between the two countries in within the so-called Union State.

What does Putin want from Lukashenka

But most experts are sure that the Russian president will put pressure on Lukashenka to enter the war against Ukraine. And for this, Russia is already creating the necessary conditions. On June 22, a new batch of Russian missile launchers for the S-300 air defense system was brought to Belarus – at least 16 missiles, as well as, presumably, one Pantsir air defense missile system.

The monitoring group “Belarusian Gayun”, which monitors the movement of military equipment across the territory of Belarus, reported that two Il-76MD VKS of the Russian Federation, presumably from Pskov, arrived at Gomel airport at night.

The same group of “Belarusian Gayun” reports that the Belarusian military, according to the publication, are digging trenches near the borders with Ukraine, Poland and Lithuania in the Gomel, Brest and Grodno regions.

In addition, Belarus has been conducting a series of diverse military exercises since early June. According to the Ministry of Defense of Belarus, all categories of military personnel (including conscripts), units, military units, formations and military command and control bodies are involved in such “trainings”.

The exercise has now been extended until June 25th. As the Ministry of Defense of Belarus reported, their military “will work out the practical skills of the personnel of military units and logistics support units in performing tasks in accordance with their assignment in a dynamically changing environment.”

“Father” will try to wars in Ukraine

So what do Putin and Lukashenko want? Ilya Kusa, an expert on international politics at the Ukrainian Institute of the Future analytical center, believes that their interests are opposite. Putin wants to involve Lukashenka in the war with Ukraine, and he will try to avoid it in every possible way.

“Russia is trying to persuade him to play a more active role in the military campaign in Ukraine. Lukashenka will again try to jump off this topic. But this game continues. And Russia is unlikely to succeed. The moment has already been lost. The Ukrainian army successfully resists the aggressor, and Lukashenka does not want to repeat the fate of the Russians. The Belarusian dictator now has more room for maneuver as the war drags on. He's not ready to get involved. And both the Belarusian society and the military are not ready for it,” the analyst believes.

Putin and Lukashenko's plans: provocations against Lithuania or a second front in Ukraine

If Russia and Belarus try to break through the Suwalki corridor by force, this is fraught with a conflict with NATO. Illustration: LEhAN//commons.wikimedia.org

The goal is Lithuania

But political scientist Vladimir Fesenko suggests that the reason for Lukashenka's unexpected visit to Moscow is not Ukraine, but Lithuania, or rather the blockade of the Kaliningrad region of Russia, which she announced. Moscow has lost transit to this exclave. But there is the so-called Suwalki corridor, which runs from Belarus along the border of Lithuania and Poland to the Kaliningrad region.

– Therefore, there is a risk that Putin and Lukashenka may discuss some joint actions to lift this blockade. The most risky option is to break through this corridor to Kaliningrad by force. But this is fraught with military actions between Russia and Belarus and NATO, whose members are Lithuania and Poland. The second option is the coordination of joint economic and sanctions actions against Lithuania. But this is not critical for her. Or they can organize some kind of provocation at the border. In any case, they will put pressure on Lithuania and frighten it, – the expert suggests.

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