What role does Belarus play in the war against Ukraine?
The question of Belarus' involvement, role and status in the war against Ukraine unleashed by Russia is today not only the subject of much debate, but also of outright political speculation.
The so-called "government" of Belarusian dictator Lukashenka, who recently claimed that the first "preventive strike "  against Ukraine was launched from the territory of Belarus back on 23 February at 23:00  and that without Belarus the Russian invasion of Ukraine would not have been possible , today it is making the exact opposite statement ("we were dragged into this war " ) and sending letters to the foreign ministries of Western countries denying any "insinuations that Belarus is in any way involved in the hostilities in Ukraine " .
Why Lukashenko’s illegitimate "government" is doing this is clear to us. They want to avoid responsibility, to get the sanctions lifted or, at least, to avoid imposing "mirror" sanctions against Belarus — similar to those imposed against Russia.
But it is not only Lukashenko’s regime that denies Belarus' participation in the military aggression. On March 13, the question whether Belarus is or is not taking part in the war against Ukraine was considered in the report of the OSCE Mission "On violations of international humanitarian law and human rights, war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Ukraine since February 24, 2022" . The rapporteurs reached the following conclusion:
"Although Belarus allows its territory to be used to launch Russian attacks on Ukraine, the Mission considers that as of 1 April it is not a party to the International armed conflict, as long as it does not itself commit acts of violence or other acts that would constitute direct participation in the hostilities by persons attributable to Belarus".
"Хотя Беларусь позволяет использовать свою территорию для нападения России на Украину, Миссия считает, что по состоянию на 1 апреля она не является стороной Международного вооруженного конфликта, если сама не совершает актов насилия или иные действия, представляющие собой непосредственное участие в боевых действиях лиц, приписываемых Беларуси".
What objectives the rapporteurs were pursuing in making this assessment is anyone’s guess. However, the consonance of this assessment with the "official" position of the Lukashenko regime cannot but be alarming and distrustful.
Is there then a truly convincing answer to the question of Belarus' role in the war?
Certainly, yes. The Western and Ukrainian intelligence certainly have the answer they are looking for. Otherwise, questions would already be raised about the professional level of the intelligence officers.
But agree that it is absurd to doubt their professionalism, given the high quality of the data they provided on the eve of the war and are providing now. Intelligence has an answer to this question — and so does the political leadership of both Ukraine and its allied countries in the West.
For us it is obvious that the uncertainty of Belarus' participation or non-participation in the war is politically motivated. But we, democratic forces and people of Belarus, still need an answer. After all, the status and future of our country as a result of the war in Ukraine depends on it. It is also a matter of principle for us to hold the Lukashenko regime accountable for its complicity in the war and for war crimes committed during the war.
We will therefore try to put the question of Belarus' role in the war another way: who pushed the button?
Everything is very simple. The facts of the numerous missile launches on Ukraine from the territory of Belarus  are proven, obvious and beyond doubt. As is the fact that many of these missiles have hit their targets and killed Ukrainian citizens. And it does not matter at all whose missiles they were — Russian or Belarussian. What matters is who pushed the button.
If a Belarusian soldier did it even once, it means that Belarus is directly involved in the war and is killing Ukrainians. It means that the OSCE is fundamentally misjudging the actions of the Belarusian side in order to deliberately mislead the public. It means that Ukraine and the West deliberately conceal the fact of Belarus' involvement in the war. But it also means that Belarus should bear full responsibility for its participation in the war against Ukraine, including reparations.
If all the missile launches were exclusively carried out by Russian servicemen — then a slightly different question arises. How did Russian troops get the opportunity to use the territory and infrastructure of Belarus to wage war against Ukraine? How is it possible that a country, which is not involved in the war, became a springboard for it?
The answer is obvious — Belarus has been subjected to Russian occupation. And given the fact that neither Lukashenko’s "government" nor the Belarusian army in any way prevented the foreign army from carrying out military actions against Ukraine from the territory of our country, we can conclude that this occupation occurred with their full connivance and consent. We can state that in this case the functions of the occupation administration are vested in the puppet "government" of Lukashenko, who is fully under the control of the Kremlin.
And hence all responsibility for complicity in the Russian aggression against Ukraine lies with Lukashenko’s puppet regime. This means that the question of Belarus' involvement in the war should in principle be posed differently — its accomplice is not Belarus itself, but the Kremlin occupation administration led by Lukashenko.
This is exactly the question we democratic forces in Belarus are asking — Lukashenko’s puppet government is as guilty as Russia for unleashing the war against Ukraine. It is it that allowed and facilitated Russia’s occupation of Belarus and thereby provided Putin with territory and all the necessary infrastructure to move and deploy his troops, to carry out missile and air strikes on Ukrainian territory, and to provide logistical support, maintenance and medical care for the Russian army.
This means that the entire international community, including Ukraine, has the right to demand immediate withdrawal of Russian occupying forces from the territory of Belarus, i.e. to de-occupy it, and also to bring the Lukashenko puppet regime to justice for military aggression against Ukraine on a par with Russia.
It also means fully synchronising the sanctions for military aggression and applying them equally to Russia and to the Lukashenko regime — and using them as a tool to force the withdrawal of Russian troops from occupied Belarus, among other things, as a critically necessary step to end the war and ensure regional security and future independence of Belarus.
Finally, this means that the Lukashenko puppet regime must be given a proper international legal assessment, completely stripped of its recognition and political subjectivity, and consequently excluded from any international configurations, including peace negotiations. And Belarus' participation in any international organisations must be suspended until the occupation is ended and a globally recognised democratic government emerges.
However, this can only be achieved if there is international legal recognition of Russia’s occupation of Belarus.
So who pushed the button and what is Belarus' role in the war against Ukraine?
Belarusian military (that means Belarus is a direct participant in the war) or Russian military (that means the country is under Russian occupation and the military aggressor is not Belarus, but Lukashenko’s occupation administration, which is fully controlled by the Kremlin and acts in the interests of Russia)?
The Ukrainian and Western intelligence undoubtedly have an answer to this question. And that means that the leadership of Ukraine and Western countries must have it.
And we, Belarusians, are waiting for an answer — a clear and unambiguous one, which will put an end to political speculations and flirting of the West with Lukashenko’s regime. An answer, which will determine the status and role of Belarus in the war against Ukraine and will directly point to concrete military aggressors.
The time has come to call things by their proper names. After all, it directly depends on whether ALL those responsible for the bloody war in the heart of Europe, without exception, will be brought to justice. The future of OUR country and the security of the entire region depends on it. Not only Putin and his puppet Lukashenko, but probably the West itself, are playing with this.
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