August 14 – August 20, 2023
Belarus-West relations

The regime leverages distant allies and nuclear weapons to confront the West

The situation has not changed
The regime leverages distant allies and nuclear weapons to confront the West

The regime continues to cultivate more distant countries to support its resistance to Western pressure. On the eve of the BRICS summit in Johannesburg on August 22nd -24th, Minsk is paying special attention to China and Brazil, with an agenda that includes circumvention of restrictions against the Belarusian potash sector and regime participation in negotiations to end the Russian-Ukrainian war. The deployment of Russian nuclear weapons is not a hindrance to Minsk’s “peacekeeping initiatives”.

In his address to the participants of the XI Moscow Conference on International Security, Lukashenka characterised the deployment of nuclear weapons in Belarus as a rational response to the activities of the United States and NATO, and the militarisation of Eastern Europe, which does not undermine Belarusian peace initiatives. He noted the unprecedented international tension, the aggravation of existing challenges and threats, and claimed that international law has been discredited in terms of arms control. Lukashenka claimed sanctions are a new type of weapon constituting a global threat. Against this backdrop, he concludes that Belarus remains a supporter of peace and security. Later Lukashenka promised “instant” use of nuclear weapons in the event of aggression against Belarus, from either the West or Ukraine.

At a meeting with the Minister of Defence of the People’s Republic of China, Li Shangfu, Lukashenka claimed that Belarus and China share a common view of the world order. Specifically, he declared: “We are absolute supporters of a multipolar world, we are absolute supporters of the territorial integrity and unity of the borders and territories that developed after the Second World War. We are in favour of non-interference in the internal affairs of states. In short, the whole palette on which China’s foreign policy is based is inherent in our leadership.”

The regime continues to pin its hopes on the BRICS. At the BRICS summit in Johannesburg on August 22nd -24th , the Belarusian delegation will be headed by Foreign Minister Sergey Aleinik, who will take part in several bilateral meetings.

Minsk places special emphasis on cooperation with Brazil to circumvent sanctions against the Belarusian potash sector. According to the country’s ambassador to Belarus, Bernard Jörg Leopold de Garcia Klingl, Brazil is trying to convince countries that have imposed sanctions that the supply of potash fertilizers is of strategic importance. Brazil is negotiating with the EU and the United States, emphasising how sanctions on fertilisers impact the world’s fourth largest producer of agricultural products. Another area of attention is resolving issues related to payment for the supply of products. Logistical issues are not so acute now that Belarusian products can be transported through Russian ports. Additionally, Brazil is lobbying for the inclusion of Lukashenka in future negotiations to end the Russian-Ukrainian war.

The Kremlin, with the help of its supporters, including BRICS, will continue to press for the participation of the Belarusian regime in future negotiations, which would serve Russian interests and represent a great achievement for Minsk.

However, Brazilian initiatives are viewed by Kyiv as excessively pro-Russian, with the Brazilian initiative to include Lukashenka in negotiators attributed to the “Russian package” of proposals.

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Once a week, in coordination with a group of prominent Belarusian analysts, we provide analytical commentaries on the most topical and relevant issues, including the behind-the-scenes processes occurring in Belarus. These commentaries are available in Belarusian, Russian, and English.

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