Expert on the war in Ukraine and whether Belarus will become a player
Senior fellow for foreign policy and defense at the Hudson Institute Luke Coffey unpacks the ongoing war in Ukraine as Russia amplifies missile barrage on Ukrainian cities.
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s executive office distributed an internal strategy document in fall 2021 that lays out the Kremlin’s 10-year plan to take full control of neighboring Belarus, a country north of Ukraine that borders three NATO members, Yahoo News reported on Monday.
Belorusian President Alexander Lukashenko, who has held the office since 1994 following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, is a close ally of Putin and vocal supporter of the invasion of Ukraine.
The internal strategy document, obtained by Yahoo News, details Russia’s plans to annex Belarus and create a “Union State of Russia and Belarus” by 2030.
Russian President Vladimir Putin embraces his Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko during a meeting in Moscow, Russia December 29, 2018. (Kirill Kudryavtsev/Pool via REUTERS)
The Presidential Directorate for Cross-Border Cooperation authored the scheme, which outlines benchmarks the Kremlin must hit by 2022, 2025, and 2030 to ensure that Russia has “control of the information space” and that there is a “common approach to the interpretation of history” in Belarus, according to Yahoo News. Russia allegedly wants to achieve this through political, economic, and military tactics.
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The Russian and Belorusian embassies in the U.S. did not return requests for comment on Monday evening.
FILE PHOTO: Russian and Belarusian armed forces take part in a military drill in Gomel, Belarus on Feb. 19. (Stringer/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Russian forces staged on Belorusian territory ahead of Putin’s invasion last year, but Lukashenko has so far declined to get directly involved in the conflict.
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Ahead of Lukashenko’s most recent visit to Moscow last week, the Belorusian leader said that troops would be deployed if Ukrainians encroach on their territory.
“I’m ready to fight together with the Russians from the territory of Belarus in one case only: if so much as one soldier from (Ukraine) comes to our territory with a gun to kill my people,” Lukashenko said last Thursday.
“If they commit an aggression against Belarus, our response will be the most cruel. The most cruel!”
A photograph taken on February 17, 2022, shows Belarus’ armored personnel carrier (APC) during joint exercises of the armed forces of Russia and Belarus as part of an inspection of the Union State’s Response Force, at a firing range near a town of Osipovichi outside Minsk. (MAXIM GUCHEK/BELTA/AFP via Getty Images)
Belorusian Defense Minister Viktor Khrenin said Monday that the country will form a new paramilitary force of up to 150,000 volunteers.
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The internal strategy document is part of what many Western leaders have warned is Putin’s ultimate goal in invading Ukraine.
“He has much larger ambitions in Ukraine,” President Biden said on the day of Russia’s invasion last February. “He wants to, in fact, reestablish the former Soviet Union. That’s what this is about.”
Paul Best is a breaking news reporter for Fox News Digital and Fox Business. Story tips and ideas can be sent to [email protected] and on Twitter: @KincaidBest.