Belarusian Ambassador Ihar Sokol withdrew from Ukraine on March 18, worrying observers about the possibility of the Belarusian army attacking. The country is already supporting Russia by ferrying supplies into Ukraine across its railways and allowing for sorties to originate from its airfields. Meanwhile, Ukraine is sounding the alarm, warning that Belarus plans to invade to further support Putin’s takeover of Ukraine.
Belarus is located on the Northern border of Ukraine. A direct invasion by the country would put additional pressure on its capital city of Kyiv.
The propaganda war is raging on all sides, with Ukraine saying that the Russian advance has stalled and Russia calmly reporting that everything is going according to plan. The answer, as usual, lies somewhere in the middle.
Russia’s method of warfare revolves around creating pockets of enemy forces that are cut off from supply, command and control. This is in opposition to the more western strategies of overwhelming force and annihilation of enemy forces. Russia’s desire to force their enemy to the bargaining table by siege tactics may be a reason the campaign has stalled.
One must consider the possibility that Russia has the upper hand.
That said, if things were going completely in Russia’s favor, there would not be a need for Belarus to intervene from the North. Belarus’ President Alexander Lukashenko is a close ally of Putin’s so it is not outside the realm of possibilities for him to commit his forces to the conflict. For what it’s worth, Ukraine fully expects Belarus to expand its role and has already started the propaganda campaign against the country.
Such actions accomplish nothing on the geopolitical side, but are enormously powerful when used on social media. Scenes like this illustrate how Ukraine has attempted to control the narrative and garner support in the international community.
Russia continues to be isolated as a result of these efforts. Belarus will get the same treatment at the hands of Ukraine spin-masters. Given Belarus’s involvement up to this point, it seems a foregone conclusion that they will enter the kinetic phase of the war. The Belarusian ambassadors may be looked back upon as the inflection point for a new phase for the war.