Putin to put more pressure on Lukashenko to make him join war - ISW

Putin to put more pressure on Lukashenko to make him join war - ISW

During a visit to Minsk on December 19, Russian President Vladimir Putin will try to exert more pressure self-proclaimed President of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, to agree to deploy Belarusian troops in Ukraine.

This is stated in the latest review of the U.S.-based Institute for the Study of War (ISW), reports Ukrinform.

" Putin’s visit to Minsk could indicate that Putin is trying to set conditions for (…) a renewed offensive against Ukraine—possibly against northern Ukraine or Kyiv—in winter 2023," the review notes.

At the same time, American analysts recall their previous assessments that the likelihood of a second Russian invasion of Ukraine from Belarus is low, although possible.

Read also: CinC Zaluzhnyi believes Russia "may have another go" at Kyiv

"Belarusian forces remain extremely unlikely to invade Ukraine without a Russian strike force. It is far from clear that Lukashenko would commit Belarusian forces to fight in Ukraine even alongside Russian troops. There are still no indicators that Russian forces are forming a strike force in Belarus," the review notes.

At the same time, American experts add, the meeting between Putin and Lukashenko will at least contribute to a separate Russian psyop aimed at breaking Ukraine's will to resist and the West's willingness to support Ukraine.

"This meeting will reinforce the Russian information operation designed to convince Ukrainians and Westerners that Russia may attack Ukraine from Belarus. Russia’s continued strikes against Kyiv, constant troop deployments to Belarus, and continued bellicose rhetoric are part of (and mutually reinforce) this information operation," the Institute for the Study of War believes.

At the same time, it is noted that, since the Kremlin is unlikely to succeed in breaking the will of Ukrainians to resist, Moscow's goal may be to convince the West of Ukraine's inability to significantly alter the current front lines and that the war “is effectively stalemated.”

"ISW assesses that such a conclusion is inaccurate and that Ukraine stands a good chance of regaining considerable critical terrain in the coming months," the review emphasizes.

As reported, on Monday, December 19, Putin will arrive in Minsk for negotiations with Lukashenko.

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