Michael MacKay, Radio Lemberg, 26.09.2018
In the fifth year of Russia’s war against Ukraine, Belarus is now acting as an ally of Russia. A turning-point was reached on September 21, when Belarus voted at the United Nations against having the General Assembly consider the situation in the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine. Belarus is now among the tiny minority of nations which support imperialist aggression by Muscovy and Putin’s War against the Ukrainian people.
By a vote of 68 in favour to 13 against, with 48 abstentions, the UN General Assembly decided that at its just-started 73rd session the conditions in Russian-invaded and occupied Crimea and Donbas will be discussed. Russia invaded Ukraine on 20 February 2014, is waging constant war across a wide battlefront in Luhansk and Donetsk regions, and currently occupies – temporarily and illegally – Ukraine’s southern peninsula of Crimea and some of Ukraine’s eastern region of Donbas.
The 13 UN member states which voted against considering what’s going on in Russian-invaded and occupied Ukraine were Armenia, Belarus, Burundi, Cuba, Iran, Kazakhstan, Myanmar, Nicaragua, Philippines, Russia, Sudan, Syria and Venezuela. That Belarus is numbered among the supporters of Putin’s War against the Ukrainian people is a bit of a shock. Belarus is a neighbour of Ukraine and is a captive nation of Muscovy, as Ukraine once was. But while the Belarusian people may be sympathetic to the struggle of Ukrainians for independence and freedom against foreign aggressor Muscovy, the regime of Alexander Lukashenko is subordinate to the Kremlin.
On September 25, Alexander Lukashenko ordered the reinforcement of security on the border with Ukraine. “We have decided to strengthen security on the border with Ukraine. We see how many troubles it causes for Belarus, including smuggling of arms,” said the Belarusian dictator. Just like Putin in Moscow, Lukashenko in Minsk fears the example that Ukraine’s Revolution of Dignity sets for people who now live in subjection to brutal and undemocratic political domination. Lukashenko’s hold over Belarus is threatened by genuine, spontaneous, people-power – in desperation, he tries to curtail free movement across the Belarus-Ukraine border.
When Belarus sided with Russia against Ukraine at the UN, it destroyed its standing as a neutral country. Belarus is now no longer suitable as a source of peacekeeping troops for any future mission to eastern Ukraine, and Belarus is no longer suitable as a venue for armistice talks between invader Russia and defender Ukraine.
Speaking at preparatory meetings in New York before the UN General Assembly session, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said he rejects Belarus involvement in Donbas. No peacekeepers must come "from a country that is an ally of an aggressor state,” said President Poroshenko. Neither Kazakhstan nor Belarus will participate in UN peacekeeping operations. Those countries are allies of the aggressor state, Russia, and allowing their participation would also validate the bogus “Commonwealth of Independent States” concept. Ukraine withdrew from the CIS, which was never anything more than a lukewarm manifestation of Kremlin imperialism. Despite the fact that the US Special Representative for Ukraine, Kurt Volker, named Sweden, Finland, Austria, Belarus, Serbia and Turkey, as countries that are “happy to send their forces to Ukraine,” Belarus will not be participating because it is an ally of invader Russia.
Ukraine now wants armistice talks moved out of Minsk. The Tripartite Contact Group that was set up under the Minsk Agreement of 11 February 2015 now meets in Minsk, Belarus. After Belarus voted on the side of aggressor Russia at the UN, the Permanent Representative of Ukraine to the UN, Volodymyr Yelchenko, made a statement saying it was necessary to change the location of negotiations from Minsk to somewhere else. Belarus is not a neutral country in the conflict between Ukraine and Russia and so Ambassador Yelchenko suggested that meetings of the Trilateral Contact Group stop being held in Minsk. Iryna Gerashchenko is First Vice Chair of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine and also Ukraine’s representative to the humanitarian subgroup of the Tripartite Contact Group. She agrees with Ambassador Yelchenko’s suggestion to move talks out of the territory of Russia’s ally Belarus. “I am for transferring the negotiations site to a really neutral country that will not act as Russia’s ally and will not vote against Ukraine,” Iryna Gerashchenko said.
Belarus is an ally of Russia in Russia’s war against Ukraine. Ukrainians know it, because they see it manifested on the battlefront in Donbas. A Ukrainian Twitter user in the Russian-occupied zone in Donbas wrote the following on September 24: “I went to Snizhne, numerous long-haul trucks with Belarus number plates there. I think Belarus peacekeepers are out of the question.” Those Belarusian trucks could only have reached the Russian-occupied zone by illegally crossing the section of the Ukraine-Russian Federation frontier that is uncontrolled by the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine. The only logical purpose of numerous long-haul trucks being in a place like Snizhne is to supply war matériel to the foreign army from Muscovy that is invading and occupying Ukraine.
Belarus cannot participate in UN peacekeeping in Ukraine. Belarus can no longer host armistice talks between invader Russia and defender Ukraine. Belarus is an ally of Russia and a supporter of Putin’s War against the Ukrainian people.