№18 (November-December 2020)
Russia continues to support Belarus amid the country’s isolation by the West, whereas Belarus moderates its claims to union privileges from Russia.
The crisis in Belarus’s relationship with the European Union continues to unfold as Brussels imposes sanctions and Minsk responds with counter-sanctions. The relations are particularly tense with Poland and Lithuania.
The diplomatic track of Belarus’s engagement with China revived, which is a result of the appointment of heads of diplomatic missions by both countries. Belarus and China continued their mutual political support.
Harsh public rhetoric persists in Belarus’s relationship with the United States. Washington is building up its sanctions pressure, but so far those measures do not affect Minsk’s vital economic interests. The return of the U.S. ambassador progressed and is now in its final stage.
Political engagement with Ukraine grew weaker. In November and December, there were no official relations not only at the top level, but also at the level of bilateral operational arrangements.
In the security sphere, the Belarusian government noticeably strengthened its control over the situation in the country; however, it was largely at the expense of extraordinary measures and unprecedented concessions to the Kremlin. The level of military activity in the region decreased insignificantly, but neither the pandemic nor the economic recession had potential to put an end to the “creeping” build-up of forces and armaments amid poorer transparency.