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Aleksandr Lukanshenko, The Other Dictator Behind The War In Ukraine

The "last dictator of Europe" has been the right hand of Vladimir Putin and a vital piece in the war in Ukraine

Alexander Lukashenko

Photo: kremlin.ru

LatinAmerican Post | Santiago Gómez Hernández

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Leer en español: Aleksandr Lukanshenko, el otro responsable de la guerra en Ucrania

Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital, is still holding out. Despite the Russian siege, the main city remains standing and has been a tough nut to crack for the Russian army. However, anyone looking at a map of the current conflict between Russia and Ukraine can see that even though Ukraine only has a border with Russia in the east, the troops approaching Kyiv have entered from the north. This is because the Russian army is advancing from Belarus.

Now why is Belarus serving as the hub for the campaign in Kyiv? The answer is the close friendship and union that exists, not only between Russians and Belarusians, but also between Alexander Lukashenko and Vladimir Putin. The Belarusian president is, possibly, the man closest to Putin on the international scene and today he is serving as an ally, although this also represents economic sanctions for his country.

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Since the beginning of the invasion of Ukraine, the European Commission has warned that it is also contemplating imposing sanctions against Belarus and Lukashenko, which could affect exports of fuel, tobacco, wood, cement, iron, among other products.

Who is Aleksandr Lukashenko, the man closest to Putin?

Aleksandr Lukashenko is considered by many to be the last dictator of Europe. This is because since 1994 he has been the only president in the history of Belarus and all national politics have fallen under him.

In his youth, Lukashenko was part of the Soviet troops, when Belarus was still part of the Soviet Union. He has always felt linked to maintaining a union of Soviet republics, and from his position in the Communist Party of Belarus, he voted against the dissolution of the USSR.

As soon as he came to power, he dedicated himself to forging an alliance with Russia and always being a key player in the pan-Slavic intentions of whoever was in power in his eastern neighbor. This is why in 1995, Belarus and Russia signed the State of the Union, which aims to unite both countries as a confederation that even contemplates a single currency. Although this treaty signed by Boris Yeltsin and Lukashenko has not yet been ratified or fulfilled, both parties are still interested.

Today, Lukanshenko is paying Putin for all the support the latter has given him. Since, were it not for his alliances and Russian support, the dictator could long ago have lost control of a country embedded in the middle of a continent that advocates democracy. Despite the pressure and sanctions that the European Union has been applying for decades, Russia has always been supportive of the Belarusian regime. 

Right through Belarus, is the passage of the gas pipeline that supplies energy to much of Western Europe. Although it is true that a similar decision also affects Russia, this has never caused a breakdown in the bilateral relations of these two countries.

Belarus could enter the war with Ukraine

Despite the fact that Belarus currently serves as a center and passageway for Russian troops to Ukraine, it could begin to play a much more prominent role and enter the conflict.

According to CNN , US and NATO officials warn that a more active role for Belarus in Ukraine is "increasingly likely". According to what was compiled by the media, Putin would need the help of his colleague.