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An Anxious Russia Tries to Pull Belarus Closer

Dec 24, 2019 | 10:30 GMT
People gather for a rally against Belarus' closer integration with Russia in Minsk's Oktyabrskaya Square on Dec. 20, 2019.

People gather for a rally against Belarus' closer integration with Russia in Minsk's Oktyabrskaya Square on Dec. 20, 2019. Belarus is shaping up to be a new hotspot between East and West.

(NATALIA FEDOSENKO/TASS via Getty Images)

Almost six years after Ukraine drove a wedge between Russia and the West, there's a new potential hotspot in the geopolitical competition between the two in Eastern Europe: Belarus. Moscow has been exerting more pressure on Minsk in an effort to bind it economically, politically and militarily to Russia amid fears that a Belarus leaning West would further deprive the Kremlin of one of its last redoubts of strategic depth against Europe. At the same time, too hot a pursuit could instead end up repelling Belarus. Given its own preference, Minsk would rather maintain a balance between the two, but given the intensifying competition between Russia and the West, Belarus may be the site of their next showdown....

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