Why Belarus is helping Russia overtake Ukraine

The former Soviet republic does Putin's bidding because its president, Alexander Lukashenko, owes his survival to Russia's quashing Belarusians protesting his ill-gotten reelection in 2020

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March 1, 2022 - 9:59 AM

Opposition supporters carry the former white-red-white flag of Belarus as they march during a rally to protest the country's inauguration of Alexander Lukashenko in Minsk on September 27, 2020. Thousands of people were imprisoned for protesting Lukashenko's reelection, which was deemed a fraud by outside election officials.(-/TUT.BY/AFP via Getty Images)

On Monday, Russian and Ukrainian delegations met for talks on Ukraine’s border with Belarus — one sign of how Vladimir Putin has swallowed the country of Belarus while the world was watching the war in Ukraine. Belarusian troops may now supplement Russians in the effort to conquer Kyiv, and Belarus could serve as a new base for Russian nuclear weapons. Here’s some background on how Putin effectively annexed Belarus, and made it the model for what he still hopes to do with Ukraine.

What is the relationship between Russia and Belarus?

Belarus, a country of around 9.5 million people that sits on Russia’s eastern border and Ukraine’s northern border, has been in Vladimir Putin’s sights as long as Ukraine has.

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