On August 18th, Tom Rogan, a US political journalist, possibly made the first call to something that was quite expected: accuse Russia of potentially planning to send forces to Belarus.
In order to avoid such a negative scenario, US President Donald Trump and the US Congress need to vow that there would be even more sanctions against Russia if such a deployment would occur.
This is in relation to a claim by Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko that Russian President Vladimir Putin had promised security assistance if it were needed.
The state news agency Belta cited remarks by Lukashenko that “at the first request, Russia will provide comprehensive assistance to ensure the security of Belarus in the event of external military threats”.
The Kremlin has made no confirmation of any such claims, but said that it was confident issues in Belarus would be resolved soon.
It is also interesting how after months of anti-Russian policy and the arrest of 33 Russians and their subsequent accusations of being mercenaries sent by the Kremlin to spread chaos throughout Belarus, Lukashenko expects for Vladimir Putin to help him consolidate his power.
Currently, the Trump administration condemned Lukashenko and said it doesn’t recognize the election results and his authority.
But Lukashenko hasn’t been sanctioned, neither has Putin been sanctioned preemptively.
Even the EU, which is usually “docile” introduced sanctions on Lukashenko and his aides.
But the US needs to be the leader, as usual. And, as expected, any Western meddling from Poland, the UK, the US and others is actually wanted and expected, it’s “the other kind” that’s bad.
U.S. leadership matters for two reasons, according to Rogan.
“First, in service of Belarusian human rights and America’s credibility as global leader of the post-war liberal international order.”
“Second, because Putin will use his support to Lukashenko as a pivot upon which to advance his ultimate interest in absorbing Belarus as part of Russia.”
Of course, this is now the newly-propagated threat, that’s an old one, but is getting an impetus, reinforced by all the hysteria regarding repression in Belarus – “The Russians are coming.”
“In turn, the U.S. must take a lead in deterring Putin from trammeling Belarusians in their aspiration for representative democracy. And to prevent the Kremlin from bolstering its threat to NATO.”
Meanwhile, in Belarus itself, prosecutors have accused the opposition of trying to seize power and opened a criminal case against them.
The announcement raises the possibility of trials and jail time for the leaders of a coordination council, set up this week, that includes opposition politicians, factory representatives and the Nobel prize-winning author Svetlana Alexievich.
“The creation and the activities of the coordination council are aimed at seizing power and inflicting damage to national security,” said the prosecutor general, Alexander Konyuk, on August 20th. He said investigators had started an investigation into “calls for actions aimed at undermining national security”, which carries a jail term of up to five years. Lukashenko promised earlier in the week to take measures “to cool down a few hot heads” linked to the council.
In support of the opposition, Lithuanian prime minister Saulius Skvernelis met with Svetlana Tikhanovskaya.
“Our country has always supported the people of Belarus who are striving for freedom and democracy. We see the awakening of the nation, we all support them together. The road to a free society will not be easy and will require great endurance. I am sure they will be enough for Belarusians.
I assured Svetlana that the Government, together with partners in Poland, Latvia and Estonia, is doing and will do its utmost to achieve the goal of free and fair elections in Belarus and to allow its children to embrace their father in freedom as soon as possible,” the Prime Minister said in a statement.
MORE ON THE TOPIC:
- The Saker: “Will Belarus Become the Next Banderastan?”
- Another Country, Same People: Supporters Of 2014 Coup In Ukraine Are Now With Belarusian Opposition