Putin making Belarus into base for attacking Kyiv, Minsk analyst says

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2014/12/15 • Politics

Article by: Paul Goble

Even as Moscow appears to be reducing its military actions in southeastern Ukraine, a “reduction” that is at least in part a disinformation campaign, Putin is making Belarus into a base for attacking Kyiv.

The appearance of more Russian “little green men” in Gomel last week prompted some Ukrainians to ask whether the Kremlin was planning to stage a Novorossiya-style move into Belarus, Natalya Radina, the editor of the independent Belarusian site Charter97.org, notes.

But such questions are based on a misperception of the situation: Putin has no need of invading Belarus as he did Ukraine, she says. Instead, he has full control of Ukraine’s northern neighbor and is taking steps to ready it to become a place des armes from which Moscow can attack Kyiv from the north.

For the last several years, Radina continues, Russian and Belarusian forces have been engaged in joint exercises based on the assumption of countering a NATO threat. But since at least last May, after Moscow moved into Ukraine, Russian military personnel have moved into Belarus, although in an effort to hide this activity, they have dressed in Belarusian uniforms.

At that time, there were roughly 3,000 Russian officers and soldiers in Belarusian garrisons. Now, their numbers are much greater. Moreover, as the Russian defense ministry has said, Moscow is advancing the date for the establishment of a completely Russian air base in Belarus so that it will be operational early next year.

One aspect of this situation is especially worrisome, Radina suggests. Moscow has said that its Belarusian base will have numerous MI-8 helicopters which are used not for air defense but rather for moving troops. Such planes could be used to move troops quickly in the direction of Kyiv which is not far south of the Belarusian border.

Even if Moscow does not use this base to attack Ukraine, Russia’s ability to do precisely that will force Kyiv to divide its forces and thus make it easier for Putin to put pressure on the Ukrainian government, however much some in the West will try to see any “freezing” of movement in Ukraine’s southeast as a hopeful sign that the crisis is near an end.

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  • Dirk Smith

    Well, Minsk has been leveled before…….

    • Milton Devonair

      the ape running russia cannot afford to lose both Ukraine and Belaurus. His eurasian (soviet) union cannot succeed w/o belarus and might not w/o eastern Ukraine, definitely not w/o Crimea.

      So once again, the apes of russia are waging wars for their expansion on the soil of other people, killing them, stealing from them, raping them, they don’t care. It’s all about the cesspool called russia and russians.

      Війна може бути війною, але нам треба перемогти ворогів війни, щоб звільнитися від хвороби.

      • http://euromaidanpress.com Mat

        Of course it could survive without Belarus, Belarus is tiny with no money. The Eurasian Union will fail because of Russia, not anybody else.

        • Milton Devonair

          True, russia could “survive”. And that’s all, but russians like to live in poverty and misery, so they’ll just drink their way through it until the next disaster comes about.

          If the EU fails, is that necessarily a bad thing? They are trying to implement socialism/communism on a multi-national scale—and that form of governance isn’t even working within their own individual countries, so I don’t see how adding more failing countries that must abide by dysfunctional rules will make the EU do anything but fail.

          The ‘rules/laws’ that the eu kings/queens can’t make any country strong, they can only weaken it. The costs imposed upon individual countries in order to comply with those silly rules are very high.

          “EU court nails Austria, Poland over breaches to green energy rules”

  • sandy miller

    Jesus…Putler the Evil one. Unbelievable. I can only hope someone knocks him and his minions off before they go any further. Every move he makes underlines his evilness.

  • http://peterbkor.wordpress.com/ Peter K

    I’m surprised the Russians have not already coerced the Belarusians into breaking all ties with or even attacking Ukraine. Lukashenko’s misrule over Belarus has so thoroughly stunted the country’s development that it is now totally reliant on Russian subsidies and good will. Lukashenko every now and then does or says something crazy enough to make people think he is independent of Moscow, but don’t be fooled: he is Putin’s stooge and so long as he is dictator of Belarus, Ukrainians must consider Belarus a security threat. The good news is that Lukashenko can’t live forever, that Belarusians are not Russians, that Belarusian liberals and nationalists are looking at Ukraine with admiration (or at least envy), and that “Free Belarus” will likely not allow Russia to build air-bases on its territory.

  • DejaVu

    The real question is whether Lukashenko really supports Ukraine or whether this is all merely talk. Lukashenko publicly disagrees with Putin especially on key issues but we don’t whether this will translate into another split between Belarus and Russia.

  • OlenaG

    What the West has and continues to NOT understand is that Putin will not stop in Ukraine until Ukraine collapses or Putin is no longer of this mortal world. Another serious failure on the part of the West is its continual appeasement and duplicity that only serves to embolden Putin even further. Putin knows the West is “chicken” and until the West “grows a pair” Putin will continue. Brute force is what Putin and the Russian Bear understand. Negotiations are seen as cowardice.