The Republic of Belarus is a co — aggressor in the war against Ukraine. It deserves the toughest sanctions from world governments and companies, as Alexander Lukashenko shares the views of Vladimir Putin, which poses a direct danger to Ukraine. Missile strikes conducted from the territory of Belarus led to numerous civilian casualties and ruthless destruction of Ukrainian cities.
Since 1994, Belarus has been in the orbit of Russian foreign policy without any alternative. The Republic of Belarus is a member of all Russian reintegration projects in the former Soviet Union, starting from the Union state with the Russian Federation and finishing with the Eurasian Union and the CSTO.
Alexander Lukashenko has consistently led the Republic of Belarus for 28 years, systematically destroying its political opposition. Belarus became the critical platform for negotiations between Ukraine and Russia after Russia’s illegal seizure of Crimea and Donbas in 2014. Belarusian authorities attempted to benefit economically and politically from their standing as a mediator. The Russian Federation and the Republic of Belarus have a tight economic relationship due to the Eurasian Union (the successor of the customs union). Companies have avoided the international community’s sanctions against Russia thanks to Belarus.
Subsequently, Minsk’s position increasingly repeated Moscow’s statements. After the harsh suppression of peaceful protests in the summer of 2020, mass arrests of oppositionists and artificial provocation of the migration crisis on the border with Poland, the Belarusian authorities found themselves in total international isolation.
At the same time, the EU, the United States and the United Kingdom imposed a package of sanctions on Belarus. They directed multiple Belarusian aircraft and numerous state-owned enterprises, factories, and companies. Export restrictions on goods and technologies that can help Belarus enhance its military and defence security have recently been added to the sanctions already in place. Restrictions are also imposed to provide relevant services to the Belarusian side. The entire list of sanctioned products takes up 120 pages.
Four weeks before the Russian invasion of Ukraine, large-scale military exercises “Allied determination-2022” were held on the territory of Belarus. Under the guise of which, Russia concentrated more than 170 thousand military personnel and thousands of equipment to attack Ukraine. Minsk knew about the Kremlin’s intentions but did nothing to prevent the conflict.
Since February 24, Lukashenko has repeatedly stated that the Armed Forces of the Republic of Belarus will not interfere in the war. However, on March 1, a column of Belarusian military equipment and military personnel was evidenced in the Sivershchyna, near Chernihiv. In addition, the Republic of Belarus hosts Russian military forces, missile systems, and aircraft formations that are directly involved in Russia’s armed attack against Ukraine.
The Russian Federation is the most sanctioned country in the world: almost 6,000 sanctions apply against its citizens, companies and officials, according to the Ministry of Digital Development. A significant part of multinational companies announced the termination of operations in Russia, including Netflix, Ikea, and McDonald’s and technology giants like Intel, Meta, and Volkswagen Group. However, most of these restrictions (particularly the ban on the purchase of Russian oil and gas) do not apply to Belarus. Russian and multinational corporations’ Belarusian subsidiaries can continue to operate freely despite the present restrictions.
At the same time, the shelling of Ukraine from the territory of Belarus continues. As of March 4, Russia fired 70 of its 480 missiles launched against Ukraine from Belarusian territory. Alexander Lukashenko did not deny this fact but said that there were only two or three missiles.
The actions of the Lukashenko regime also undermine the foundations of European security. Based on the results of the manipulative “referendum” held on February 27, the Belarusian authorities are seeking to abolish the nuclear-free status of the state and deploy Russian nuclear weapons on the territory of the Republic of Belarus.
On Friday, March 11, Lukashenko and Putin met in Moscow, where they discussed further joint actions in the war, particularly regarding sanctions. There is no doubt that Belarus will continue to follow the Kremlin’s instructions obediently. Thus, the number of Russian troops on the territory of the Republic of Belarus will grow, and the shelling of Ukraine from Belarusian territory will continue. A provocation was carried out on the same day to bring the Republic of Belarus into Vladimir Putin’s war against Ukraine. Russian troops attacked several border settlements in Belarus as if the strike was carried out from the territory of Ukraine.
The authorities and economy of the Republic of Belarus should be subjected to a complete scope of international sanctions, which are echoed by the Russian ones in their strength, for their complicity in Russia’s military invasion, systematic violation of human rights, and aggressive foreign policy. It is the only way the international community can prevent further escalation of the war in Ukraine.
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