Alyaksandr Lukashenka likely tried to leverage Vladimir Putin’s concern over the Wagner Group throughout his visit to Russia to gain favorable conditions in Belarusian-Russian relations following Putin’s demands for closer integration into the Union State and support for Russia’s war in Ukraine, ISW reported.
A Russian insider source claimed that the Wagner Group was the most important topic during the Putin-Lukashenka meeting and that Lukashenko sought more economic assistance to Belarus through Union State programs, the Institute for the Study of War said.
The insider source also claimed that Putin wanted Belarus to be more involved in the war in Ukraine and rejected Lukashenka’s compromise offer to have Belarusian forces conduct a show of force on Belarus’ border with Ukraine
Lukashenko was likely trying to leverage Putin’s concern over the Wagner Group throughout the entire visit to Russia to gain favorable conditions in Belarusian-Russian relations while deflecting Putin’s demands for closer integration into the Union State and support for Russia’s war in Ukraine, ISW concludes.
According to the Institute for the Study of War, the Russian leadership is creating formalized but decentralized military “enterprises” based on federation entities after the departures of the Wagner group.
“The Russian State Duma adopted the second and third readings of amendments to the federal law regulating the circulation of weapons in constituent entities of the Russian Federation on 25 July that will allow heads of Russian federal subjects to create specialized state unitary enterprises.”
The Kremlin is likely trying to balance two competing security requirements—the need for combat capable formations that can fulfill roles left by the Wagner Group following their armed rebellion and relocation to Belarus and the desire not to recreate the systemic threats to the Russian state that Wagner’s independence posed, the Institute for the Study of War noted.