A Ukrainian expert assesses the consequences for the dictators.
The Kremlin has amassed a huge military group around Ukraine's borders and moved the most advanced offensive weapons, from tanks to Iskanders. Russia is conducting an unprecedented operation on troop deployment in Belarus. Lukashenka has also stated he is preparing for war. Can Belarus be used by the Kremlin to attack Ukraine? Ukrainian journalist, editor in chief of Censor.net, Yuri Butusov, told this in an interview with Charter97.org.
- Undoubtedly, Belarus is going to be used for an attack on Ukraine. The minimum task for Lukashenka is to distract the Ukrainian troops to cover the state border, stretch our reserves and forces. The maximum task is to play the role of such a bridgehead for limited combat operations directly on the territory of Ukraine.
- Is there any probability that the Belarusian troops will be involved in the attack?
- I think this is hardly considered right now. This may happen after some time.
- Do the Ukrainians understand that the aggression comes not from the Belarusian people but the dictator Lukashenka?
- I think Lukashenka is simply an executor of Putin's decisions. If he doesn't help Putin fight Ukraine, try to strangle the freedom of Ukraine, the Kremlin won't help him stifle the freedom in Belarus. Two dictators, two usurpers are bound to each other by blood and mutual interests. It's a captive alliance. Therefore, Lukashenka will do what Putin says. I think he will avoid interfering to the maximum, but the Kremlin can force him. Therefore, it is naive to say that Lukashenka will protect the interests of the Belarusian people and will not allow them to get involved in the war. It is not going to happen. If Putin forces him, he will do whatever he is ordered.
- You've written a lot about the NATO air bridge and arms shipments to Ukraine. Could you explain what is the importance of this signal and what kind of weapons Ukraine is currently receiving?
- Ukraine is now receiving precision-guided weapons that can be used in urban combat. One can use it after a very short training cycle. These are Javelin anti-tank guided weapons - one of the most modern infantry weapon systems. The United States and many other countries in the world have them in their arsenal. These are NLAW anti-tank grenade launchers. They are in service with the armed forces of Great Britain, Sweden, advanced countries of the world in military terms.
That is, these are all types of easy-to-use, guided and modern weapons. The Russian army has no equivalents of such weapons. The Russian infantry is armed with second-generation weapons, but these are third-generation weapons based on the "shoot-and-forget" technology. Undoubtedly, such an armament provides the troops with great advantages on the battlefield. This is a vital weapon for Ukraine because the terrain in Ukraine is quite densely urbanized, i.e. there are a great number of buildings and large settlements. Therefore such weapons are optimized just for combat operations in these settlements.
The NATO air bridge brings us an essential guarantee, let us count on the continuation of these supplies in times of war. NATO demonstrates this on purpose. Supplies are flowing daily. If an active situation commences, it will simply be intensified. It means Ukraine should not fear that it will run out of ammunition. To continue the armed resistance, Ukraine will receive the resources of NATO states, i.e. practically unlimited stocks of ammunition. Naturally, it is crucial for our defence strategy. It gives us a significant advantage in the war. If the war becomes protracted, we will have support.
- Experts note that Ukraine has also received Stingers, which largely influenced the outcome of the war in Afghanistan in the 1980s. How does it affect the balance of forces?
- So far. we have only received a statement about Stinger's delivery. I think they will be in service soon. They should arrive from the Baltic States. These weapons played one of the most important roles in Afghanistan. Right now, we cannot say that Stingers can completely solve all problems of air defence. But they significantly reduce the combat capability of Russian aviation and helicopters and reduce the effectiveness of these weapons. Thanks to this, we will be able to resist more effectively.
- Ukraine also has Turkish Bayraktar drones which have proven themselves well in the war in Nagorno-Karabakh.
- We have already bought at least 12 Bayraktar drones with ammunition, guided missiles, bombs. The use of Bayraktar drones is very important in modern warfare, not because of their striking weapons, but mainly because of the excellent L3 Harris infrared search and track system. The Canadian-American infrared search and track system provides an overview and targeting at 20 kilometers. That is, the laser rangefinder accurately measures the distance and points the guided weapon at a range of 20 kilometres. At a range of up to 50 kilometers, it provides a clear view and real-time data transfer capability. That is, it's a view in the IR spectrum, usually in the optical range. It's critical for command and control of the troops and the organization of combat operations.
- Given that the Lukashenka regime is a potential aggressor, can one expect any sanctions from Ukraine?
- Unfortunately, the Ukrainian leadership is doing business with Lukashenka, trying to set up secret arrangements. Unfortunately, these arrangements reduce the effectiveness of sanctions. It caused the scandal and the failure of the special operation on the Wagner group, the Russian terrorists. Unfortunately, it still functions. However, I think that the pressure of public opinion in Ukraine that is mainly aimed against Lukashenka, the usurper of power, as well as the pressure of the West, Kyiv will show a tougher political stance concerning Lukashenka.
- Could you describe what awaits Putin and Lukashenka if they do decide to attack Ukraine?
- It may be a land operation of some limited scale, some air strikes. But they have a rather limited arsenal of actions. It can be either a large-scale military operation or a limited one. They no longer have any other options to influence Ukraine. This is already, as I would say, agony. Ukraine will certainly achieve victory in the war. There is simply no chance for Russia to win. Strategically, we will win. The Ukrainian people are ready to resist. There are enough people, hundreds of thousands of people will defend their country. There will be both Ukrainian and NATO weapons.
Politically, I think it will be much tougher economic sanctions from NATO. There is no doubt that Russia will pay a very big price for this. It will be a big loss for the Russian economy. Naturally, there will be economic problems also for those Russian allies who, as the Lukashenka regime, will support the aggression.