According to a recent Daily Beast analysis, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, the leader of Belarus’ opposition, is attempting to forge an alliance with Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky to thwart any plans Russia may have for further territorial expansion into Europe.

Valery Kavaleuski, a foreign affairs representative for the leader of the Belarusian opposition, expressed concern to the Daily Beast that Russian President Vladimir Putin is pursuing a Belarus policy with similar motives to those directed toward Ukraine, ultimately intending to encompase Belarus within Russia.

“Russians are looking at us in the same way they look at Ukraine,” Kavaleuski remarked, adding that Belarus is a “temporarily dependent” state –  a “nation that does not deserve to be next to Russia, so its has to be  ‘Russified.’’

Putin’s interest in invading sovereign nations beyond Ukraine has long been a source of worry across Europe. The Baltic states, Poland and even the U.K. and U.S. have had reason to be concerned. If Belarus were invaded or seized, Putin could theoretically open an easy-access corridor to Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland

Speaking to the Daily Beast, Kavaleuski said: “When you look at the map, you see that these are basically the most important countries on the way from Russia to western Europe. Democratic Belarus and Ukraine should be working closely to resolve the grave threat to our statehoods.”

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Armenia’s snubbing of the latest Moscow-led summit may be the first indication that Russia’s allies are beginning to realize that the glue that binds is past its sell-by date.

Putin’s intentions toward Belarus are unclear. The U.S. State Department noted earlier this year that relations between the two countries are complex, making it unclear where Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko “ends” and Putin “begins.”

Moscow and Minsk have established what they refer to as a “union state,” in which the two nations’ banking, military, and other sectors have become increasingly integrated.

New threat to Ukraine from Belarus

Earlier this year, Lukashenko allowed Russia to use Belarus as a base for launching attacks on Ukraine, including the thwarted attempt to seize Kyiv in late February.

Recently, Belarus and Russia have been preparing to launch a combined military grouping and have been practicing live fire drills in Belarus ahead of potential deployment.

According to top sources, Russia is currently moving some 9,000 troops and hundreds of armored vehicles into Belarus, according to defense officials in Minsk. This is taking place as Russia continues to suffer growing losses in Ukraine.

Belarusians have been urged not to support Russia’s war against Ukraine by its national Armed Forces.

Meanwhile, the Ukrainian Armed Forces (UAF) Department of Strategic Communications (StratCom) warned that in the event of any aggression from Belarus, Ukraine will respond with its entire military arsenal and will strike at military facilities in Belarus.

Despite Ukraine acknowledging a potential threat from Belarus, the UAF’s message emphasizes that Ukraine will not attack Belarus first.

Selling out to Moscow

Tsikhanouskaya, who unsuccessfully challenged Lukashenko for the presidency in 2020 and is widely regarded as the legitimate representative of the Belarusian people, is interpreting these latest developments to mean that Lukashenko is not Putin’s equal and has essentially handed all power to Moscow.

According to her assessment, it is time to start over with an eye toward the future – one in which Lukashenko may or may not hold power.

“Belarusians are notthe same as  Lukashenko. He is a disgrace to my country and it is he and Putin who are dragging our country into the war. Lukashenko is not the decision-maker anymore -the Kremlin is,” she stressed in her alliance request to Zelensky.

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