Minsk will further hew to a non-engagement policy in the confrontation between Russia and the West

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Minsk has clearly outlined its position regarding the confrontation between Russia and the West: it will not join either side for as long as there is hope for some stabilization in the regional security.

The day of the creation of the Red Army on February 23rd is traditionally used by the Belarusian authorities as a pretext for designating their position on topical regional security matters. Visiting the Belarusian Military Academy on February 22nd, 2019, Alexander Lukashenka stated that national sovereignty was not a matter of discussion. Having close defence cooperation with Russia, Belarus was open for a dialogue with regional players, including NATO. He said that Minsk stood for a peaceful, political resolution of all existing problems.

Minsk’s statement about its readiness for a joint response with Russia to a hypothetical deployment of medium and shorter-range missiles in Europe aimed to demonstrate its political loyalty to the Kremlin and encourage the West to take Belarus and her initiatives more seriously (the Helsinki process 2.0 and peacemaking initiatives for Donbass).

On the same day, a regular briefing for foreign military attaches was held at the Defense Ministry. Speaking about international cooperation, the military department announced its intention to maintain the achieved cooperation with Russia and improve defence relations with Ukraine, Poland and Lithuania.

Minsk will further pursue its policy of non-involvement in the confrontation between Russia and the West. This requires maintaining close cooperation with Moscow and expanding the security dialogue with the West. Belarus is likely to retain allied rhetoric towards the Kremlin and continue attempts to normalize relations with the EU and the US. Belarus is unlikely to change her strategy in this regard in the future.

Belarus in focus

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