What role has Belarus played in the Russia-Ukraine crisis?

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko speaks to journalists near Osipovichi on Feb. 17. (Alexander Zemlianichenko Jr/AP)
4 min

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has unified the West — and much of the world — in near-universal condemnation, prompting even friendly nations such as China to urge Moscow to settle the conflict through negotiations.

But at least one leader has stood out as a staunch supporter of an increasingly isolated Russia: Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko.

Lukashenko has hosted Russian troops and equipment, allowed Moscow to use Belarus as a staging ground, and on Feb. 27 pushed through a constitutional amendment ending the country’s nuclear-free status. He has also cracked down on antiwar protests, detaining about 800 demonstrators on Feb. 27 alone, according to the Interior Ministry.

The two leaders met in Russia’s far eastern Amur region on April 12. Although Belarus hasn’t sent troops to fight on behalf of Russia, Lukashenko remains a steadfast ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Lukashenko blamed Britain and the United States for the war, calling it a “dangerous moment,” while Putin thanked him for his help during the peace negotiations.

Here’s a look at Belarus and its relationship with Russia.