(HorizonPost.com) – Russia’s loyal ally Belarus has announced plans to move troops and military equipment within the country, sparking global fears of the country’s involvement in the “special military campaign” of Ukraine, according to The Daily Caller.
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko’s made a deal with Russian President Vladimir Putin back in October to deploy troops as part of a joint regional force. Just before Russia launched an invasion of Ukraine, the two countries were reportedly conducting military drills, and Lukashenko allegedly allowed Putin to use Belarus as a staging ground for the invasion.
The Security Council alleges that the movement of troops and military equipment for the next two days is part of counterterror exercises. Information concerning the number of troops and types of equipment has not been shared. The country’s state-run news service said that transportation links will be shut down to assist in the “audit of the state system of response to acts of terrorism.”
The announcement follows the government’s decision to enable the death penalty for those in the military or government who commit “high treason.” The penalty will also apply to criminals who allegedly spread “false information” about the country’s military.
Similar laws have been implemented in Russia as part of the war effort to control dissent, according to The New York Post. Some Western diplomats have expressed doubt over Belarus’s involvement in the war, citing the country’s small military which could not effectively wage war against Ukraine. They also said that initiating war will encourage Lukashenko’s opponents to unseat the autocrat.
Ukrainian officials allege that Belarus’s troop movement could be a distraction to get Ukraine to move troops to the northern border. But others maintain the possibility of Belarus joining Russia’s side in the war.
“I don’t know whether this has happened, but from a military indicators point of view, everything is pointing towards Belarusian armed forces taking a more belligerent stance,” said Konrad Muzyka, of Polish think tank Rochan Consulting.
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