Posted On


NATO must seriously plan for likely future reality of Russian-controlled Belarus – ISW

KYIV. Feb 22 (Interfax-Ukraine) – NATO must seriously plan for the likely future reality of a Russian-controlled Belarus, according to a report of the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) for February 21.

“As ISW previously assessed, Putin will very likely secure significant gains in restoring Russian suzerainty over Belarus regardless of the outcome of his invasion of Ukraine. Russia’s likely permanent gains in Belarus present the West with a decision about how to deal with the potential future security landscape on NATO’s eastern flank,” the report reads.

It notes that if “If the West allows Putin to maintain his current gains in Ukraine—particularly Crimea and eastern Kherson Oblast—then the Kremlin will be able to use both occupied Belarusian and Ukrainian territory to further threaten Ukraine and NATO’s eastern flank.”

“The West could alternatively set conditions for a future in which a territorially-whole Ukraine becomes a robust military partner in defending NATO’s eastern flank against Russia and Russian-occupied Belarus,” the analysts convinced.

They stress that this preferred long-term future depends on immediate and sustained decisive action by the West to enable Ukraine to expel Russian troops from its territory.

“It is extraordinaly unlikely that the West will be able to defeat or respond effectively to the Russian campaign to absorb Belarus without first defeating the Russian invasion of Ukraine,” the Institute says.

The say that International journalists reportedly obtained the Kremlin’s classified 2021 strategy document on restoring Russian suzerainty over Belarus through the Union State by 2030.

At the same time, assessing the speech of Russian President Vladimir Putin, which he said before the Federal Assembly, analysts stressed that the Russian dictator did not articulate specific goals or intentions for the war in Ukraine, instead reinforcing several long-standing “rhetorical lines” in an effort to buy Putin more space and time for a protracted war.

At the same time, Putin’s announcement of Russia’s suspension of participation in the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) captured more attention than the relatively boilerplate content of the rest of the speech.

“Putin may have made this announcement in order to re-introduce nuclear rhetoric into the information space, thereby distracting from the overall lack of substance in the rest of his speech,” the ISW says.

The Institute also says that other milbloggers criticized Putin’s address as “boilerplate and without meaningful action.”

Speaking about the situation on the battlefield, analysts reported that the Russian occupiers are trying to conduct offensive operations in the area of Bakhmut, Avdiyivka and Kreminna.

The Ukrainian army, according to ISW, successfully repels enemy attacks, launching local counter-offensives. In particular, to the north of Avdiyivka, Ukrainian defenders regained control of previously abandoned positions in Vesele area.