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ISW: Kremlin’s gains in Belarus underscore that Putin’s imperialistic ambitions transcend Ukraine
Russia's President Vladimir Putin will very likely make "significant gains in restoring Russian suzerainty over Belarus" regardless of the outcome of his invasion of Ukraine, the Institute for the Study of War said in its latest assessment.
The U.S.-based think tank has long assessed that the West sometimes ignores Putin’s activities that appear trivial. However, those seemingly trivial activities are essential to Putin’s strategic gains in the long run.
"Putin’s gains in Belarus indicate that he is reaping the benefits of such long-term campaigns," the ISW said.
Russia and Belarus formed the Union State structure in 1999. The Kremlin significantly intensified its political and economic pressure campaigns to integrate Belarus through the Union State structure no later than 2019.
"Western shortsightedness about the Kremlin’s slower-developing, long-term efforts helps enable Putin’s strategic advances," the experts said.