14 March 2022
Since 24 February 2022 Belarus has been an active enabler of Russia’s war against Ukraine. The present Brief (1) examines the background to this and analyses how military cooperation between Russia and Belarus has developed since 2020 (2). Back then, following the brutal crackdown on the protests contesting the results of the fraudulent presidential elections, Belarus became almost completely isolated from the West. As a result, Minsk’s dependence on Russia increased substantially, because political, security, logistical and financial support from Russia became vital for the survival of Lukashenka’s regime.
The Brief is composed of four main parts. The first section provides an overview of the main characteristics of Russia-Belarus military cooperation before the events of 2020. The second part charts the most important changes that have taken place in the last one and a half years, focusing on the increasingly frequent joint exercises and operations held by the Russian and Belarusian armed forces, the stationing of Russian troops in Belarus, and the deployment of Belarusian soldiers in Russian-led missions abroad, as well as the war against Ukraine. The third section forecasts the future development of bilateral military cooperation between Moscow and Minsk, while the last section considers the implications both for the European Union and the Eastern Partnership region.
Table of contents
- 1 Introduction
- 2 Military cooperation before 2020
- 3 Changes since 2020
- 4 Likely future trends of Russia-Belarus military cooperation
- 5 Conclusions
- 6 References