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Main War — Aleksey Kopytko: The Kremlin's manipulation tactics with Belarus are multi-layered


Aleksey Kopytko: The Kremlin's manipulation tactics with Belarus are multi-layered

04 Apr, 2024
Aleksey Kopytko: The Kremlin's manipulation tactics with Belarus are multi-layered

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By Aleksey Kopytko

" Yesterday, the Robert Lansing Institute, citing insider information from European intelligence, revealed information that Russia may be preparing terrorist attacks in Belarus, in which fighters from the Kalinowski Regiment will be accused. The goal is to shift the focus of the terrorist act to Crocus, establish a "Ukrainian trace," and most importantly, compel Lukashenko to move troops into Ukraine.

Insider information is what it is. But there are a number of facts that create a striking background.

Firstly, Lukashenko, with inexplicable zeal, disavowed Putin's lie that "terrorists from Crocus were moving to Ukraine." Insisting that terrorists have no place in Belarus.

Secondly, Russian media began to highlight that Russia is purchasing fuel at Belarusian refineries, particularly in Mozyr. Essentially, painting a target on the Mozyr refinery and legitimizing it as a target for attack. Moreover, not for drones, but for "saboteurs/guerrillas." I've thoroughly analyzed this story.

Thirdly, Lukashenko suddenly made a trip to the Suwalki Corridor and played the aggressor. It's an obvious provocation. And Lukashenko is definitely not an idiot to not understand how it will be perceived. It's deliberately done.

Yesterday, the Minsk leader visited Grodno and made a lot of statements. First, he declared to the residents of the city that Grodno is a Belarusian city and they won't give it to anyone. Then, he emphasized that Belarus wants peace but is preparing for war.



In general, from Russia, Lukashenko persistently signals that the enemies are in Ukraine. And the Belarusian president performs the traditional "turn a deaf ear" routine and insists that the adversaries are in the West. And we must defend the union state. He will lie low, but he won't let NATO hordes near Russia! That's the kind of person he is!

The Kremlin's manipulation logic with Belarus is multi-layered.

Firstly, to agitate Ukrainian troops. In Donbas, the Russians are pressing, but gradually running out of steam. The campaign of intensified recruiting has just begun. They need several months to gather strength. Pushing Belarus into war is difficult, but exacerbating the situation, mobilizing the army, so that Ukraine is forced to increase troop presence on the northern border (1000 km to be exact) is realistic. And there's still the border with Russia from Chernihiv to Luhansk region. Where they can simulate preparations for an attack on Kyiv-Sumy-Kharkiv.

Secondly, to start actively using Belarusian airspace for attacks on Ukraine in response. Moscow can press Lukashenko into making this practical decision.

If we analyse the spikes of disinformation about Lukashenko's readiness to attack Ukraine literally tomorrow, there is a noticeable correlation: at these moments, either Russia needed a respite, or it was trying to disrupt the concentration of Ukrainian troops.

The fact is that Lukashenko doesn't need to start a war for the most transparent reasons.

Now, he quietly monetizes his proxy status in both directions, and sanctions don't really bother him. The most trivial thing is selling Kazakh timber to the EU. If he gets involved in the war, he will immediately lose a lot of bonuses and risk losing power.

The Belarusian army has not just zero but negative chances in case of contact with Ukrainian units. Belarusian border guards hide when they see ours.

Among Belarusians, war is a highly unpopular endeavour. Nominal mobilization of hundreds of thousands of people is possible there. But it's unclear who will be worse off for it. Perhaps only the Kremlin will dress people from the Volga region and the Urals in Belarusian uniforms, because you can't touch the Caucasus, and the Buryats are on the decline.

The first step towards Ukraine means automatically minus the Mozyr Oil Refinery and several other enterprises. Just in the first couple of hours. FSB "partisans" can detonate something non-critical at the plant for imitation and incitement. In the case of a real war, the Ukrainian army will not imitate anything - it will annihilate them very quickly.

Lukashenko's choice is difficult, but it exists.

The Russians can intimidate him with various unpleasant things.

Ukrainians won't be intimidated if aggression is attempted from Minsk. They will have to seek refuge at least in China. Although it's not certain that 1) they will make it in time, 2) they will be accepted."

The Odessa Journal

The Odessa Journal

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