It is Vladimir Putin’s first trip to Minsk since 2019 before the COVID pandemic and a wave of pro-democracy protests in 2020, that were crushed by the Belarusian regime’s forces. Belarus remains a close Kremlin ally used as a logistics base and a safe place for Russian artillery shelling Ukraine’s capital Kyiv.
“During [these talks] questions will be worked out for further aggression against Ukraine and the broader involvement of the Belarusian armed forces in the operation against Ukraine, in particular, in our opinion, also on the ground,” Serhiy Nayev, Ukrainian joint forces commander commented before the visit.
It is speculated that the reason behind the visit is that Putin will attempt to force Lukashenka into joining the invasion of Ukraine. reports were “groundless” and “stupid”. But although the Belarusian dictator himself officially denied he wants to send his troops to Ukraine, he actively supports the Russian invasion of the country from its first hours.
Russian Interfax agency said that Russian troops that were moved to Belarus will conduct “battalion tactical exercises” as announced by the Russian Defence Ministry.