Belarus probably won’t invade Ukraine right away

As the war in Ukraine drags on and Russia’s attempts to gain significant ground in Donbas stall, concerns are being raised once again about the possibility of Belarus opening a second front. This, so the logic goes, would require Ukraine to redeploy forces from the front lines in the east and make it easier for Russia to capture more territory there. This risk now appears heightened in the context of a Lithuanian ban on the transit of certain goods from Russia through Belarus and Lithuania to the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad.

Ukrainian officials, however, appear less worried. The president, Volodymyr Zelensky, in an interview on June 6, deemed the risk of an invasion from Belarus minimal. It’s a view also held by Zelensky’s chief of staff, Andriy Yermak, and similarly endorsed by the secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, Oleksiy Danilov.

Belarusian and Ukrainian military and security experts also assess the possibility of Belarus entering the war against Ukraine as small. There is a prominent school of thought that there has been no actual proof of pressure from Moscow on the Belarus president, Alexander Lukashenko, to join the war – bu,t rather, that imagined pressure is a bargaining tool for the Belarusian president to improve his damaged relations with the West by demonstrating that he can resist Putin´s pressure.

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