№20 (March-April 2020)
Minsk’s relationship with Russia is still characterized by enhanced engagement between various agencies, primarily those operating in the security and defense sectors. The score of the relationship
reached a new record high of 36 points.
A new surge of escalation in the relationship between Belarus and the European Union was recorded. Minsk completed the legal implementation of its response mechanisms (counter-sanctions) to match the restrictive measures originally imposed by the EU.
Contacts with China traditionally evolved rather smoothly. Coordination of the two countries’ positions in international organizations was reinforced.
Negative developments gained momentum in the U.S. and Ukraine dimensions. The process for the ambassadors of Belarus and the U.S. to return to their respective missions was suspended; Washington announced a renewal of economic sanctions; the Belarusian authorities accused the U.S. of masterminding at attempt on Lukashenka’s life. Ukraine began to put in place a full-scale strategy to protect the Ukrainian
market and manufacturers from Belarusian products. Both of these priority areas of foreign policy saw a record low of minus 31 points each.
The regional security situation was determined by a fresh round of tensions around the conflict in the east of Ukraine. It never led to a full-scale warfare or Russian invasion, but contributed to further division and militarization of the region.
Belarus’s position in the region in terms of national security degraded. Minsk seriously yielded to Moscow’s security pressure, which was manifested in unprecedented steps — the signing of the five-year Strategic Plan, consent to have a joint combat duty with the Russian Aerospace Forces in Belarus’s territory, and the establishment of joint training centers — and has already reshaped priorities in the training of its troops. The level of regional tensions has shifted upwards, into the orange zone.