Russian internal strategy document details Kremlin's plans to take control of Belarus within 7 years: report
The Kremlin distributed an internal strategy document in 2021 that detail's Russia's plans to take full control of Belarus by 2023, Yahoo News reported on Monday.
Russian President Vladimir Putin's executive office distributed an internal strategy document in fall 2021 that lays out the Kremlin's 10-year plan to take full control of neighboring Belarus, a country north of Ukraine that borders three NATO members, Yahoo News reported on Monday.
Belorusian President Alexander Lukashenko, who has held the office since 1994 following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, is a close ally of Putin and vocal supporter of the invasion of Ukraine.
The internal strategy document, obtained by Yahoo News, details Russia's plans to annex Belarus and create a "Union State of Russia and Belarus" by 2030.
The Presidential Directorate for Cross-Border Cooperation authored the scheme, which outlines benchmarks the Kremlin must hit by 2022, 2025, and 2030 to ensure that Russia has "control of the information space" and that there is a "common approach to the interpretation of history" in Belarus, according to Yahoo News. Russia allegedly wants to achieve this through political, economic, and military tactics.
The Russian and Belorusian embassies in the U.S. did not return requests for comment on Monday evening.
Russian forces staged on Belorusian territory ahead of Putin's invasion last year, but Lukashenko has so far declined to get directly involved in the conflict.
Ahead of Lukashenko's most recent visit to Moscow last week, the Belorusian leader said that troops would be deployed if Ukrainians encroach on their territory.
"I'm ready to fight together with the Russians from the territory of Belarus in one case only: if so much as one soldier from (Ukraine) comes to our territory with a gun to kill my people," Lukashenko said last Thursday.
"If they commit an aggression against Belarus, our response will be the most cruel. The most cruel!"
Belorusian Defense Minister Viktor Khrenin said Monday that the country will form a new paramilitary force of up to 150,000 volunteers.
The internal strategy document is part of what many Western leaders have warned is Putin's ultimate goal in invading Ukraine.
"He has much larger ambitions in Ukraine," President Biden said on the day of Russia's invasion last February. "He wants to, in fact, reestablish the former Soviet Union. That’s what this is about."