The Belarusian ruler Alexander Lukashenko is under pressure from Moscow to engage in military action against Ukraine. However, Lukashenko is not keen on the idea as it would make him even more unpopular and could destabilize Belarus. He is also concerned that Moscow could decide that since it is not able to realize its key objectives in Ukraine, it might opt to force Belarus into the Russian Federation.
In an interview with radio WNET, senior Polish conservative PiS MEP Jacek Saryusz-Wolski said that Putin is evidently increasing pressure on Lukashenko to engage in Ukraine. He believes that the death of the Belarusian Foreign Affairs Minister Vladimir Makei earlier this month, who was a close ally of Lukashenko and responsible for contacts with the West, was a warning shot against Lukashenko.
The death of the Belarusian foreign minister came just a day before he was to travel to a meeting of the OSCE in Poland, a meeting to which Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov had not been invited. To this day, Belarus has not issued an official communique about the causes of death of the Foreign Minister Makei.
Saryusz-Wolski is concerned that any attack across the border from Belarus could be a game changer in the war. The fear of both Ukraine and the West is an attack by Russia coming from Belarusian territory which would cut most of Ukraine off from western military and humanitarian assistance.
Meanwhile, Lukashenko himself accuses NATO of planning an invasion of Belarus as an overture to a war with Russia. This is why, he argues, Russia and Belarus have joined forces to counter a common threat for both countries.
The Belarusian leader swears that the military exercises being conducted in Belarus by Russian and Belarusian forces are purely defensive, designed to test readiness to respond to aggression. He has failed however to provide any evidence whatsoever of any NATO plans to invade either Belarus or Russia.