The United States has warned Belarus that its authoritarian government will also face a “swift and decisive response” if it assists ally Russia in invading their neighbor Ukraine.
"We've also made clear to Belarus that if it allows its territory to be used for an attack on Ukraine, it would face a swift and decisive response from the United States and our allies and partners," State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters on January 25.
Russia has deployed an estimated 100,000 or more troops near the border with Ukraine over the past weeks in what Kyiv and its Western allies fear could be preparations for a potential invasion, something Moscow has denied.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has backed Belarus’s strongman Alyaksandr Lukashenka in its standoff with the West over a disputed presidential election in August 2020 that handed the Belarusian leader a sixth consecutive term in office.
The official election results triggered a wave of protests, with Lukashenka responding with a brutal crackdown on dissent that has seen thousands detained and most opposition politicians leaving the country fearing for their security.
Earlier this month, Lukashenka said that joint Russian-Belarusian military maneuvers will be held in February close to the country's borders with Ukraine as well as eastern NATO member-states.
He said the drills should focus on a scenario in which his country's military is forced to "resist forces coming from the West."