Belarus and Russia are discussing ways that they could ruther expand the close alliance that they have developed over the last few years.
On Monday, the leaders of the two countries met to talk about how they might enhance their close relationship even further. After Russia invaded Ukraine in February of 2022, the country deployed some nuclear weapons to Belarus as sort of a threat for future potential attacks.
Russia also sent troops into northern Ukraine through Belarus at one point early on in the war.
Vladimir Putin, the president of Russia, emphasized this week that the two countries have recently developed a “strategic partnership” as part of a union agreement that lasts 25 years.
That pact didn’t officially merge the countries together, but it did establish close military, economic and political ties between Belarus and Russia.
Belarus was part of the former Soviet Union until it declared its sovereignty in July of 1990 and then its independence in August of 1991.
Since 1994, Alexander Lukashenko has been serving as Belarus’ president and has been running the country as an authoritarian.
At the beginning of the meeting on Monday, which was held in St. Petersburg and involved top officials from Belarus and Russia, Putin said:
“It’s important that amid an unprecedented foreign pressure, Russia and Belarus have closely cooperated on the international arena and have offered unfailing support to each other as true allies.”
Belarus has relied heavily on subsidies that Russia has sent his country over the 30 years that he’s been serving as president. Russia has also provided extensive political support to Lukashenko, who has maintained a tight grip over the country..
During his re-election campaign in 2020, Lukashenko was able to survive many months of significant protests that were happening around the country thanks in large part to Russia. Many western nations — as well as Lukashenko’s rivals in the election — believe that the election was rigged and fraudulent.
This is a major reason why Lukashenko allowed Russia to send their troops through Belarus as they attacked Ukraine, and why they allowed Russia to store weapons there, too. Belarus is not officially involved in the war with Ukraine, but it is certainly supporting Russia in any way they can.
Some short-range nuclear weapons that Russia has were moved into Belarus so they could not only be closer to Ukraine, but also to some NATO countries.
Last month, Lukashenko said that the nuclear weapons that Russia deployed in Belarus were finalized back in October. At the time, he didn’t mention how many nuclear weapons were being stored there, though.
Western nations largely believed that this was done to discourage other countries from continuing to provide military and financial support to Ukraine.
None of that has worked, though, as the U.S., UK and many other western countries have continued to back Ukraine, which has resulted in Russia not being able to succeed in its war efforts.