A Belarusian minister said he feared Russia would annex his country after doing the same with Ukraine shortly before his sudden death last year, Finland has revealed.
Vladimir Makei, the former foreign minister of the country closely linked to Russia, died in November last year at the age of 64. An official cause of death was not given.
Now Finland’s Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto has said he spoke with Makei after Russian President Vladimir Putin illegally declared on Sept. 30 that Russia had annexed four regions in Ukraine: Luhansk, Donetsk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson.
Haavisto said in an interview with the Finnish tabloid Iltalehti that Makei, who had held his position since 2012, was “very concerned whether Belarus would be the fifth (region).”
The Finnish politician said he found Makei’s concerns remarkable because from the outside Minsk officials appeared to be “strong supporters of Russia in every respect”, the Finnish politician said. Iltalehti report.
Vladimir Makei (pictured), the former foreign minister of the country closely linked to Russia, died in November last year at the age of 64. An official cause of death was not given. Now his Finnish counterpart has said he feared his country would be annexed by Russia
While Belarus has not been directly involved in years of fighting between Russia and Ukraine, autocrat Alexander Lukashenko allowed Moscow’s armies to use his country as a launching pad for their February 24, 2022 invasion.
Belarus has also allowed Russia to use its land for military exercises and has threatened to join Ukraine if Belarusian territory is attacked. troops to join those from Russia.
Haavisto said that as he discussed Russia’s possible ambitions, Makei’s brow began to drip with sweat, and that he said that you can’t predict who would find himself in the crosshairs of Putin’s imperialist ambitions next.
Last week, a group of journalists released a report that seemed to suggest that Makei’s concerns were not unfounded.
The reporters’ report claimed that they had received leaked presidential documents showing that Russia is reportedly planning to annex Belarus and incorporate it into the Russian Federation by the year 2030.
The secret dossier, reportedly dated summer 2021, was titled “Strategic Goals of the Russian Federation in Belarus” and outlined three possible approaches – short, medium and long term – to make Belarus, a piece of “historic Russia” ‘, to annex. .
According to the medium-term plan, Belarus would formally become part of Russia as early as 2025, while the long-term plan gives a time frame of seven years from 2023.
The plans were reportedly drafted by the Russian Presidential Directorate for Cross-Border Cooperation — a government department created by Putin in 2018 — and obtained by Yahoo! News and German outlet Sueddeutsche Zeitung.
Pictured: Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko shows an invasion map of Ukraine
Russian President Vladimir Putin listens to Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko during a meeting at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence outside Moscow, Russia, February 17, 2023
If verified as authentic, the documents would confirm that Putin has ordered Russian intelligence and military forces to prepare to annex yet another country, even as his armies struggle to make significant gains in their goal of taking Ukraine.
But the despot’s desire to take control of both Belarus and Ukraine would hardly come as a surprise and would suggest that Makei was rightly concerned.
Haavisto said he had been in contact with Makei since the beginning of the war because he wanted to understand what Belarus thought about Russia and its invasion.
“It’s worth following because although Belarus’ support seems very active, there is a kind of caveat,” he told the tabloid.
He pointed out that Belarus said it supported Russia in every way, when it did not actually join the conflict, as an interesting contradiction.
“It sends a double message, which is quite interesting, and at least Belarus has not yet joined the most active hostilities across the border,” he said.
Makei himself was the subject of a new report last week, alleging that the former foreign minister committed suicide just days after returning from a meeting with Putin’s Kremlin officials in Aermenia.
This is reported by the independent Belarusian media outlet Nasha Nivaciting four unrelated sources, Makei’s friends said he was “painfully upset by the collapse of the course he was leading.”
Lukashenko had wanted to replace its top diplomat, who had served Belarus for more than a decade. As Lukashenko has moved closer to Putin, it is clear that Makei wanted to strengthen his country’s relationship with the West.
“He has recently been denied personal attention (from Lukashenko),” Makei’s colleague is quoted anonymously in the report. “It was very palpable to him.”
Another said Makei understood that his position was coming to an end and that he felt increasingly “unnecessary” and “out of place.”
According to the report, seven months before his death, Makei had said, “I don’t remember who said it, but if you are going to be executed, it is better to be executed for loyalty than for treason.”
It added that those close to him do not believe he was killed.
Lukashenko attended Makei’s funeral on November 29. Photos showed the dictator squeezing Makei’s arm over his open coffin.
Moscow did not send Makei’s Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov to the funeral.
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko (left) meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing on March 1, 2023
The revelation from Finland’s foreign minister came as Lukashenko told his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping that his country “fully supports” Beijing’s proposals to end the war in Ukraine when the two leaders met on Wednesday.
The state visit to the Chinese capital by Lukashenko – a staunch ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin – comes after Beijing published a position paper on Moscow’s war in Ukraine, in which it insisted on being a neutral party and called for dialogue.
Western countries have criticized China for not condemning Moscow’s invasion of Moscow, while Beijing has reacted angrily to recent claims by the United States and NATO that it is considering arms deliveries to Russia.
The position paper was met with skepticism by Ukraine’s allies, while Russia acknowledged the proposal but said the conditions for a peaceful resolution of the conflict were not present “at the moment”.