Russia’s need for troop ‘disposal’ behind push to bring Belarus into war, Ukrainian official warns

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Ukrainian officials claimed Russia’s main motive in attempting to draw Belarus into the war is rooted in its need to have the Belarusian army at its “disposal.”

“Moscow’s desire to cover the lack of its military capabilities is behind the attempts to involve Belarus in the war,” advisor to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenkyy, Mikhail Podolyak said Wednesday. “Russia needs Belarusian army disposal and the power loss of the Lukashenko regime.”

Kyiv has been sounding the alarm that Belarus may decide to enter the war to aid Russia’s “special military operation” and this week Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko suggested “big war” was on the horizon. 

Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko pose for a photo during their meeting in Moscow, Russia, Friday, March 11, 2022. 
(Mikhail Klimentyev, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP))

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Russian troops launched part of their initial invasion into Ukraine from Belarus’ border and Moscow refitted its troops there after failing to take Kyiv roughly a month into the war. 

But Lukashenko, the only European leader to voice support for Putin’s war in Ukraine, had largely stayed out of the war effort until he allowed missiles to be fired from Russian planes in Belarusian airspace in late June. 

On Tuesday the controversial leader – who was accused of corruption following an allegedly rigged presidential election in 2020 – parroted Russian President Vladimir Putin’s talking points and accused the West of instigating a global war.

WARNING GRAPHIC IMAGE:

The bodies of unidentified men, believed to be Russian soldiers, arranged in a Z, a symbol of the Russian invasion, lie near a village recently retaken by Ukrainian forces on the outskirts of Kharkiv, Ukraine, on Monday, May 2.

The bodies of unidentified men, believed to be Russian soldiers, arranged in a Z, a symbol of the Russian invasion, lie near a village recently retaken by Ukrainian forces on the outskirts of Kharkiv, Ukraine, on Monday, May 2.
(AP/Felipe Dana)

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“The West is bringing the world closer to the abyss of a big war where there will be no winner,” Lukashenko said according to a report by Business Insider.  “The events that are unfolding around Belarus and Russia today require extreme vigilance and concentration.” 

Tanks move during the Union Courage-2022 Russia-Belarus military drills at the Obuz-Lesnovsky training ground in Belarus, Saturday, Feb. 19, 2022. Russia has deployed troops to its ally Belarus for sweeping joint military drills that run through Sunday, fueling Western concerns that Moscow could use the exercise to attack Ukraine from the north. 

Tanks move during the Union Courage-2022 Russia-Belarus military drills at the Obuz-Lesnovsky training ground in Belarus, Saturday, Feb. 19, 2022. Russia has deployed troops to its ally Belarus for sweeping joint military drills that run through Sunday, fueling Western concerns that Moscow could use the exercise to attack Ukraine from the north. 
(AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko Jr)

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Lukashenko accused the West of leading a “Drang nach Osten,” which was a term coined by Nazi leader Adolf Hitler during World War II as the conflict spread in Eastern Europe. 

Zelenskyy said last month that Ukrainian forces were “preparing for all the risks of an invasion” from its northern neighbor. 

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