Support 110 years of independent journalism.

Belarusian forces “highly likely” to join Russian attack, says Ukraine

The war could be about to enter its most dangerous phase as conflict inches closer to Nato member states.

By Ido Vock

BERLIN – Since Russia invaded Ukraine just under a month ago, Nato and its members have consistently rebuffed calls from Kyiv for the alliance to take actions that would lead it into direct confrontation with Moscow. Pleas for a no-fly zone (NFZ) over Ukraine have been rejected by Nato, which argues that enforcement would bring the alliance into direct conflict with Russia, with the potential for escalation up to nuclear war.

At the same time, members of the alliance have increased deliveries of weapons to Ukraine. Shipments of arms such as American anti-air Stingers and British anti-tank NLAWs have been pouring through the Nato countries that share borders with Ukraine, such as Romania and Poland.

These deliveries are an increasing source of irritation to the Kremlin, whose forces have made much slower progress than expected. Last week Russia fired cruise missiles at a military base in the western Ukrainian city of Yavoriv, just 15 kilometres from the Polish border. The attack on the base – which had previously hosted Nato personnel and was being used to train foreign volunteers – was clearly intended to send a message to Nato that Russia has the capacity to attack the convoys making their way into Ukraine.

To that backdrop came a warning this weekend from Ukraine that a Belarusian attack on western Ukraine in the coming days was “highly likely”.

The Belarusian military has been conducting exercises in the Brest region, near the Polish border. Although it does not appear to be directly involved in the invasion of Ukraine, Belarus has allowed Russia to use its territory to stage its attack. Accordingly, Western officials have persistently suspected that Minsk’s forces may join Russia’s assault.

Moscow may now be pressuring the president of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, to commit some of his troops to the invasion to help alleviate Russia’s well-documented operational difficulties. Cutting off weapon supplies is likely to be a key aim of any Belarusian offensive in the west.

Fighting in the Volyn region of Ukraine, which directly borders Poland, would drastically raise the chances of fighting spilling over – accidentally or otherwise – into a Nato member state. As Russia’s initial strategy has been frustrated, the war could be about to enter a more dangerous phase, for both Ukraine and its neighbours.

[See also: Why Russia is a prisoner of geography]

Select and enter your email address Your weekly guide to the best writing on ideas, politics, books and culture every Saturday. The best way to sign up for The Saturday Read is via saturdayread.substack.com The New Statesman's quick and essential guide to the news and politics of the day. The best way to sign up for Morning Call is via morningcall.substack.com
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how Progressive Media Investments may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
THANK YOU

Content from our partners
What you need to know about private markets
Work isn't working: how to boost the nation's health and happiness
The dementia crisis: a call for action

Topics in this article : , , ,