Russia to Withdraw Troops, Police From Belarus Border

In shift from military focus, Russia offers loan to struggling Lukashenko

Russia is keen to support Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko during the current political crisis there, but the focus seems to be moving away from direct intervention inside Belarus, ordering reserve police and national guard troops away from the border and back to their bases of origin.

Spokesman Dmitry Peskov credited the move to recent talks between Lukashenko and Russian President Vladimir Putin. The two leaders met in Sochi recently, and this lessens the chances that opposition figures accusations that Putin is plotting to move into Belarus are real.

Not that Putin is moving totally away from involvement in Belarus, as he also announced $1.5 billion loan to Belarus which is intended to help Lukashenko try to stabilize the situation. Some of this funding would be used to refinance past loans that were coming due.

Putin says he wants Belarus to work out its situation by themselves, but to do it in a “calm manner.” The loan appears designed to buy Lukashenko more time to negotiate and try to make deals after the disputed election.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.