Belarus’ dictator Lukashenko, widely seen as Putin’s puppet, says it would be ‘unacceptable’ for nukes to be used in Ukraine

belarus’-dictator-lukashenko,-widely-seen-as-putin’s-puppet,-says-it-would-be-‘unacceptable’-for-nukes-to-be-used-in-ukraine

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There's a lot of misconceptions about Lukashenko in the west. As a Belarusian who doesn't support his politics but pretty much observed the guy through most of my life let me make a few points.

  1. He's not Putin's or anyone's puppet. Lukashenko is a simple type of politician. He's only interested in preserving his power. He has no global ambition, or really any ambition at all - just power, for him and potentially for his descendants. In pursuit of this power he's completely void of any principle, anything goes. For a long time his strategy was balancing between EU and Russia lying and giving empty promises to both sides in exchange for various preferences. He acquired a lot this way, with giving away very little. Discount to Russian gas, EU funds (in the past), recognition as a ruler from both sides. Unfortunately for him in 2020 when population tried to get rid of him he had to get too cosy with Russia and to give them too much, making him dependant on Moscow. It doesn't mean he likes it - as I said, he only likes personal power and doesn't like control over himself.

  2. He's an extremely savvy political operator. Much more so than Putin. Don't get fooled by this Earth orbit buffoonery. He always says silly things like that, I think he's not even catering to electorate, it's his natural personality. This is not important. What's important is what's behind his words.

I'm sure he was caught with his pants down by Russians invading Ukraine. He was forced to let Russian troops on Belarusian territory, but I hardly believe he knew real plans - even in Russia they where known to a handful of people. And even if he suspected, there was very little he could do - Putin was strong, and he was in power only thanks to him. So for a time being he supported Putin, whilst doing crazy manoeuvres to ensure Belarusian troops do not participate in conflict. Because if they did he would be tied to Putin's will forever, and it's not in his interest.

He succeeded. Belarusian troops did not enter the conflict. Now, he's sensing that Russia is loosing. It's time to knife in the back and also to ensure you are not seen as a part of potentially horrible future decisions on the Russian side, not tied by them. Hence his new message - I think war needs to wrap up and I'm against nukes, Belarusian troops will not participate.

This is for the future. When the conflict subsides he would claim that in the beginning he was forced and didn't understand the full picture, but when he understood he immediately become against it.

If you doubt the above, remember. It's a closest Russian ally that somehow managed not to recognised Crimea as part of Russia till December 2021.

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