Putin’s upcoming trip to Belarus may serve to threaten fresh northern offensive, believes ISW

17 December 2022, 12:41 PM
Vladimir Putin (Photo:РИА Новости / Telegram)

Vladimir Putin (Photo:РИА Новости / Telegram)

Russian dictator Vladimir Putin may fly to Minsk on Dec. 19, for a meeting with Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko, in order to put additional pressure on him and to strengthen rumors of a new Russian offense from Belarus, the U.S.-based Institute of the Study of War wrote in its assessment of the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine on Dec. 16.

ISW analysts speculate that Putin wants to tighten the screws on Lukashenko, in order to "resolve" Russian-Belarusian integration issues and discuss unspecified military-political issues, as well as implement programs related to the ‘Union State’ supranational body, in his first meeting with Lukashenko in Minsk since 2019.

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The ISW stated that Lukashenko is already setting conditions to deflect Russian integration demands as he has done for decades.

Beyond bilateral aims, Putin also wants to demonstrate an intention for a renewed offensive against Ukraine — possibly in the north of Ukraine or Kyiv — in winter 2023. Currently, the ISW assesses the possibility of a fresh northern offensive on Kyiv from Belarusian territory as low, but possible.

On Dec. 13, Belarus suddenly announced a combat readiness check for its military.

Ukraine's National Security and Defense Council Secretary Oleksiy Danilov stated that a new invasion from Belarus isn't likely. He believes Belarusians don't want to repeat the fate of Russians.

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