Belarus is in the focus of the regional security policy
Following a new round of escalation between the Kremlin and the West (Ukraine is viewed as part of the latter), Minsk returned to the topic of regional security.
The Russian-Ukrainian war is expanding, both in terms of the area contested and the methods employed. These factors once again drew regional actors’ attention to Minsk.
- Russian mobilisation in Russia has raised speculation about re-positioning Russian land forces in Belarus. A new attack on Ukraine from the north would inevitably provoke Belarusian-Ukrainian armed confrontation.
- Additional uncertainty surrounds the question of Russia using tactical nuclear weapons, forcing other concerned parties to consider Minsk’s previous nuclear ambitions.
- The sabotage of the Nord Stream gas pipelines increases the importance of Belarusian gas transit pipelines, requiring new security measures over their 2900 km length.
- Kremlin annexation of occupied Ukrainian territories again raises questions about the foreign policy autonomy of the Belarusian regime; in particular, whether it can be a credible party to political agreements rather than a Kremlin proxy.
In a sense, the new situation is both a challenge and an opportunity for the Belarusian regime, however, this will only last until the next military steps of the Kremlin become clear. If Belarus manages to avoid being drawn into a new round of confrontation, this will create opportunities regarding the West and Ukraine.
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Situation in Belarus