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Russian President Putin and his close ally Lukashenko met in Belarus for the first time in three and a half years. While the timing of the critical summit increased tensions, the images of Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu surprised everyone.
As the Ukrainian war that started on February 24 continued unabated, Russian President Vladimir Putin went to Minsk to meet with his Belarusian counterpart, Aleksandr Lukashenko.
Belarus has borders with both Russia and Ukraine. Therefore, the visit brought discussions with it.
Just before the visit, the Russian Ministry of Defense made a joint military exercise statement with Belarus, adding to the controversy.
JET REACTION FROM UKRAINE
Reacting to the visit and the statement of the exercise, Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine Yevhen Yenn “We are strengthening our defense lines along the border of Russia and Belarus” said.
Belarus allowed Russian troops to use its territory at the beginning of the invasion, although so far not involved in the war with its own troops.
However, there was no doubt that Moscow increased its pressure on Minsk to join the war. news there is.
Kremlin Spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said: “totally stupid, baseless fabrications” he denied, describing it as
A FIRST AFTER 3 AND A half years
Putin and Lukashenko met for the first time in three and a half years in Belarus.
The meeting, which lasted more than two hours, was described as a “study visit”.
While it is not yet known what was discussed at the meeting, Putin, speaking at the joint press conference, said that Russia does not want to “intimidate” anyone.
Putin added that the integration that Russia wants to create with Belarus is being blocked by “some enemies”.
WHY IS PUTIN GONE NOW?
So why did the Russian leader go to Belarus now?
While the two leaders talked a lot about economic relations, trade, and security as well, there were few clues.
Putin reported that some of the Belarusian military aircraft have been re-equipped to potentially carry nuclear missiles, and that Russia is helping the Belarusian army with training.
In return, Lukashenko thanked him for supplying Belarus with the S-400 air defense system and the Iskander ballistic missile system.
The word “Ukraine” almost never passed.
SPECULATIONS INCREASED: IS BELARUS JOINING THE WAR?
However, the visit also increased speculation that Putin is seeking support from Belarus for a possible ground offensive.
This may indeed be just a rumor. Or a tactic to get Ukraine to build up on its northern border with Belarus.
However, it is also reported that several thousand Russian soldiers are already in Belarus and participating in joint exercises there.
Lukashenko has so far been reluctant to have his own troops fighting in Ukraine. All eyes will be on Minsk to see if this continues.
All eyes will be on Minsk to see if this continues.
Shoigu arrived in Minsk limping and hiding his right hand.
“Slightly wounded”? pic.twitter.com/4dbiRgdkYk
— Anton Gerashchenko (@Gerashchenko_en) December 19, 2022
WHAT HAPPENED TO SERGEY ŞOYGU?
At the critical summit held in Minsk, there was another detail that was as striking as the Putin-Lukashenko meeting: Russia Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu…
It was a matter of curiosity in the Western media whether the Minister of Defense, who was seen without any problems just a day ago, was injured or not.