The US and NATO believe that Belarus could “soon” join Russia in its war against Ukraine, US and NATO officials tell CNN, and that the country is already taking steps to do so.
It is increasingly “likely” that Belarus will enter the conflict, a NATO military official said on Monday. “(Russian President Vladimir) Putin needs support. Anything would help,” the official explained.
A Belarusian opposition source said that Belarusian combat units are ready to go into Ukraine as soon as in the next few days, with thousands of forces prepared to deploy. In this source’s view, this would have less of an impact militarily than it will geopolitically, given the implications of another country joining the war.
A senior NATO intelligence official said separately that the alliance assesses that the Belarusian government “is preparing the environment to justify a Belarusian offensive against Ukraine.”
Russia has launched its attack on Ukraine in part from Belarus’ territory, and thousands of Russian troops amassed in Belarus ahead of the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine last month, which the two countries had claimed was for training exercises. US and European sanctions in response to the war have targeted both Russian and Belarusian officials, including Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko.