Belarus Prepares to Join Russia's Unprovoked Assault on Ukraine

Belarus Prepares to Join Russia's Unprovoked Assault on Ukraine
(Mikhail Klimentyev, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

Not many nations would want to be unfavorably compared to Mussolini’s Italy in World War II, but Belarus dictator Alexander Lukashenko has set his sights on being the moral equivalent of Il Duce. If you aren’t familiar with Lukashenko, his title is technically “president,” since he was “elected” in 1994 in a “one man, one vote, one time” election that Putin had in mind for Ukraine when he installed his stooge, Viktor Yanukovych.

Even as preliminary peace talks between Russia and Ukraine are underway in Belarus, Lukashenko is on the verge of unleashing what Belarus calls an army upon its neighbor.

A senior U.S. intelligence official says Belarus is expected to send troops into Ukraine as soon as Monday to fight alongside Russian forces that invaded Ukraine last week.

Belarus has been providing support for Russia’s war effort, but so far has not taken a direct part in the conflict.

The American official has direct knowledge of current U.S. intelligence assessments and says the decision by Belarus’ leader on whether to bring Belarus further into the war depends on talks between Russia and Ukraine happening in the coming days. The official spoke anonymously to discuss the sensitive information.

This probably means a few things. As I’ve pointed out, the Russian forces available for this operation (something over 170,000) do not support an operation along four axes of advance. That allocates about 40,000 troops to each axis of advance and, when you deduct support personnel, it leaves you with about 4,000 infantry troops to do the job. In particular, the number of troops outside Kiev is nowhere near sufficient to attack that city which probably explains why they’ve halted about 20 miles away. A Belarussian attack would make an attempt to take Kiev much more feasible.

I suspect a darker reason behind Putin dragging his stooge into this fight. It is no secret the Russians have been taking casualties. There are no numbers out there that I feel confident quoting, but it would be safe to say that the number of Russian dead and wounded are probably in the 4-5,000 range right now, given the intensity of the combat. That number can’t be hidden from the Russian people indefinitely. As the war drags out, a wastage of 1-200 per day in accidents, direct combat, drone attacks, and partisan operations will add up. Bringing in troops from Belarus allows Putin to move some losses off his books and onto that of a client state.

If you read my post, Did a Quickly Deleted Essay in Russian Media Explain What Vladimir Putin Wants Russia to Gain From the Ukraine Invasion? you know there is talk that Putin intends to subsume Ukraine and Belarus into one entity. Placing Belarus forces directly under Russian command would be a first step there. There are more signs it is happening.

On June 10, 1940, as France’s defense was crumbling in the face of the German Blitzkrieg, Benito Mussolini declared war on France and launched an attack into the Alpine region of France.  Roosevelt immortalized Mussolini’s duplicity with the phrase, “On this tenth day of June, nineteen hundred and forty, the hand that held the dagger has struck it into the back of its neighbor.”

I hope Lukashenko thinks long and hard about what his actions will mean as the sanctions now applied to Russia are directed at his country. I also hope he remembers how Mussolini ended up.


Join the conversation as a VIP Member

Trending on RedState Video