Could Putin have a soft landing in Belarus?

NATO takes Finland 31st member country Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko feels the pressure of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s failed “special military operation” in Ukraine, Deployment of tactical nuclear weapons to his country. Apparently it’s not too early to make a contingency plan and Lukashenko wants assurances from Putin.

Possession of nuclear weapons has become a safety blanket for some authoritarian leaders. For others, it serves as an “escape from prison” card. The possibility of nuclear escalation gives them some leverage. Putin used his nuclear escalation leverage to block NATO from providing direct aid to Ukraine. He refused and delayed the deployment of certain “offensive” weapon systems into the battlespace. And it has tried to direct Ukraine from where it can counterattack – and it has mostly succeeded. China, North Korea, Iran and now Belarus are on the lookout. Lukashenko likely hopes that the presence of Belarusian tactical nuclear weapons will prevent a retaliatory strike from Ukraine, but he appears to be doing more than that. i’m scared of poland, when Russian support is no longer a viable option. With his tactical nuclear weapon capabilities, he could presumably be able to deter retaliation from the outside, but not indefinitely.

Nuclear capabilities have a way of doing that, a reality recently revealed in an interview with Ireland’s Raidió Teilfís Éireann (RTÉ) on April 4th. Bill Clinton He said he regretted “persuading Ukraine to give up its nuclear weapons” in the 1990s and suggested that Russia would not have invaded Ukraine if Kiev still had nuclear weapons. He went on to say: [Ukraine] Agree to give up nuclear weapons. And no one believes that Russia would have done this stunt if Ukraine still had weapons. ”

Lukashenko should worry. War does not go according to plan. The president of Belarus is Providing sanctuary for Putin and his army In his country through the war – the Russian army Stage from inside the border It then launches a ground invasion of Ukraine to secure the capital, Kiev.To give permission ballistic missile fired at ukraine From Belarus; currently allowing Russian soldiers in training in his country before being deployed to the front lines.Lukashenko’s army Weapons provided and medical assistance in Russia too. He is an ardent supporter of President Putin and has supported the Kremlin’s war effort in every possible way, not even setting foot in Ukraine.

he even has threatened direct aid to Russia If Ukraine responds to a Belarusian aggression, “I am ready to fight alongside the Russians from Belarusian territory.” His security blanket is about to be plucked from his feet as the prospect of being expelled from Ukraine is very real.

Lukashenko, presumably feeling exposed and vulnerable, met in Minsk with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu. April 10th Demand security guarantees if his country is attacked. If the counterattack succeeds and Russia is defeated in Ukraine, the Kremlin will have a bigger problem than Belarus and will be unable to provide top cover for a dumb Belarusian president.

Lukashenko also seems less confident in his army, and for good reason. The Belarusian Armed Forces in 2023 he was ranked 60th out of 145 countries. global firepower database. A more immediate concern is belarusian army, or the country will help Lukashenko.Washington Post report In September 2022, a majority of Belarusians said they did not want their country to join the war against Ukraine. They further cite a Chatham House poll conducted in August 2022, stating that “only 5% of Belarusians support sending troops to aid Russia, and 2% believe that Belarus supports Ukraine. About 70% of Belarusians said they refused to join the conflict.”

As such, Lukashenko is considered a Kremlin puppet and in March 2022 he was 25% supportthe reality that Sviatlana Tsikhanoskaya Exiled in Lithuania, her government exploits as much as it can.

But the bigger question is what Russia will get in return for storing tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus. Moscow is unlikely to give anything in return, especially given the possibility of regime change if it fails in Ukraine. could be a landing site for an asylum option if eliminated from

It also keeps Lukashenko out of the International Criminal Court (ICC) as long as he remains in power. The ICC is arrest warrant Putin accused him of war crimes in March, saying he was “criminally responsible for the kidnapping and deportation of Ukrainian children.”Belarus is not a party to the ICC. “The ICC has jurisdiction over Roman statute offenses that occurred at least partially in its neighboring countries Lithuania, Latvia, Poland and Ukraine.”

Belarus and Russia still joint corps Belarus is defending against alleged terrorist threats from Ukraine and the West. As of October 2022, the joint military group has an estimated strength of 60,000 Belarusian troops and 10,000 to 15,000 Russian troops. with tactical nuclear weapons, Aircraft and missile systems required for delivery The chessboard pieces may be poised for regime change in Russia. As Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and his generals prepare to launch a counteroffensive, it’s a reality Lukashenko must accept immediately.

Retired Army Colonel Jonathan Sweet served as a military intelligence officer for 30 years. His background includes service in the 101st Airborne Division and Information Security Command. From his 2012 to 2014 he headed the U.S. European Command’s Intelligence Operations Division, working with his NATO partners in the Black and Baltic Seas. follow him on twitter @JE Sweet2022.

Mark Toth is a former economist and entrepreneur who has worked in banking, insurance, publishing and international commerce. He is a former officer of the World Trade Center in St. Louis and has lived in US diplomatic and military communities around the world, including London, Tel Aviv, Augsburg and Nagoya. follow him on twitter @MCTothSTL.

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