Will there be a new Kyiv offensive from Belarus?

December 20,2022 741
Will there be a new Kyiv offensive from Belarus?

During his visit to Minsk on Monday, Putin pressured Lukashenka to make him send Belarusian troops to the war against Ukraine, although the Belarusian dictator is clearly not eager to do so, Oleksiy Danilov, the secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, commented on this visit, according to Ukrinform.

“Putin demands direct involvement of Belarus in the war against our country. As far as we understand, as far as we have information, neither Lukashenka nor his citizens have a great desire. But the Russians will now do everything possible and impossible to force Lukashenka to take part in this,” Danilov said.

A similar opinion was voiced on the eve of the visit by the commander of the Joint Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Lt. Gen. Serhiy Nayev:

“We believe that, during this meeting, the issues of further aggression against Ukraine and wider involvement of the armed forces of the Republic of Belarus in the operation against Ukraine will be elaborated, in particular, in our opinion, on land.”

In a recent interview with The Economist, Ukraine’s Armed Forces Commander-in-Chief Valery Zaluzhny was more specific about the Kremlin’s plans, stressing that Russia needs a pause in the fighting to gather resources for a new offensive in February-March.

“An important strategic task for us is to create reserves and prepare for a war that may take place in February, in March at best, or late January at worst. It may start not in Donbas but in the direction of Kyiv, [from Belarus], and I do not rule out the southern direction as well,” BBC quoted Zaluzhny as saying.

A worrisome thing is that the Kremlin calls the speculations about Moscow’s endeavor to force Minsk to join the so-called “special military operation” “stupid and baseless fiction,” as Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov put it. The Kremlin always lies, so Peskov’s words actually mean: “Yes, we are doing our best to drag Belarus into the war against Ukraine.”

There seems to be no doubt that Putin is planning a new Kyiv offensive, with or without Lukashenka. Whether this will actually happen depends on many factors, first of all, how powerful, timely, effective and “long-range” the support of Ukraine will be from the civilized world. Because the ability of Ukrainians to fight and their desire to throw the aggressor out of their country is also not in doubt.

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