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November 28 – December 4, 2022
Security issues

The West has no proposals for Minsk

The situation has not changed
The West has no proposals for Minsk
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz. Image: bundeskanzler.de/

The West self-evidently does not plan to participate in direct negotiations with the Belarusian regime during the active phase of the Russian-Ukrainian war. However, even afterwards, it is far from certain that the West will perceive Minsk as relevant.

The likelihood of direct negotiations with the West on regional security issues is vanishingly small, irrespective of the desires of the Belarusian regime. EU and NATO countries are taking an increasingly robust stance against Moscow and Minsk. At last week’s Berlin Security Conference, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz reiterated his determination to support Ukraine for as long as it takes, repeating his view that Russia will not win. Given that Germany is an informal leader of the European Union, it is evident that this reflects the joint position of the entire bloc.

The meeting of NATO foreign ministers and other invited state representatives ended by adopting a joint statement condemning “all those, including Belarus, who actively contribute to Russia’s aggressive war against Ukraine.” Singling out Belarus for special mention does not bode well for the Minsk regime.

Western political and military leadership is not generally inclined to distinguish between Minsk and the Kremlin or accommodate nuanced differences. Consequently, it is unlikely that the West’s stance towards Minsk reflects that applicable to Moscow, and improvements in that regard are not to be expected imminently, given the precondition of withdrawal of Russian troops from (at least) mainland Ukraine. The position of Minsk may even worsen as the West will be inclined to regard the Kremlin as representing both Russia and Belarus.

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Once a week, in coordination with a group of leading Belarusian analysts, we provide analytical commentaries to the most topical and relevant issues, including on behind the scenes processes ongoing in Belarus, in Russian and English.
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