Belarusian president plays into the hands of Putin?

Aliaksandr Lukashenka meets with Ukraine’s acting president Turchinov and then the Russian envoy on behalf of the Kremlin expresses gratitude for his stance on the Crimean issue. Whose side is he on?

According to political analyst Raman Yakauleuski, studying the Belarusian leader’s statements on Ukraine it is impossible to say absolutely positively that he backs Russia. ‘But given that Surikov [Russian ambassador to Belarus] is grateful for support he might know more,’ he adds.

Lukashenka would not have met with Turchinov without Putin‘s sanction, Mr Yakauleuski believes. ‘I would say that Putin sent Lukashenka to Turchinov to sound out the situation.’

Lukashenka’s mission was to test the waters before Russia’s intervention in Ukraine, the expert says. ‘I can’t say whether Lukashenka succeeded or not but there has not been [another round of] aggression yet, although everyone expected it,’ he stresses.

‘The next stage of carrying out Putin’s projects in the post-Soviet area is signning the documents of the Customs Union in May, which will be another step in establishing the Eurasian Union,’ Mr Yakauleuski says. But as the documents have not still agreed on, each side, including Lukashenka, is playing its own game.

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