Russia is planning "false-flag" attacks on infrastructure in Belarus to drag Minsk into war, according to Ukrainian intelligence.
The Institute for the Study of War (ISW), a U.S. think tank, has said false-flag attacks in Belarus "remain unlikely to change the domestic factors" that are preventing Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko from sending troops to Ukraine.
The ISW responded to a report by the Ukrainian Main Military Intelligence Directorate (GUR) on Sunday that said Russian special services were looking to conduct a false-flag operation through attacks.
The GUR said Russia would target "critical infrastructure facilities" in Belarus, specifically the Grodno and Brest regions at the Ostrovets nuclear power plants.
Ukrainian intelligence worries this may spur Minsk's involvement into the war, turning the tide of public opinion in Belarus to favor Russia.
The ISW also said the false-flag will "unlikely change the domestic factors" that keep Lukashenko from entering the war "on Russia's behalf."
In October, the think tank argued Belarus would not enter the war due to the "heavy domestic risk that involvement would pose to the survival" of Lukashenko's regime.
It said Moscow and Minsk would "perpetuate an ongoing information operation that the Belarusian military will enter the war."
A survey conducted earlier this year in Belarus by the Chatham House concluded that less than one-tenth of the population supported sending troops into the war.
Experts claim a more direct role by Lukashenko would pose a risk to his regime, despite Belarusian leaders' announcement in October for a joint force with Russia. Belarus' opposition draws concern with the growing presence of Russian weapons, aircraft, troops and missiles such as Iskanders, which could be used to attack Ukraine from Belarusian territory.
Franak Viačorka, chief political adviser to exiled Belarusian opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, told Newsweek that the presence of Russian troops in Belarus plays a key "political role" for Minsk.
"Lukashenko is comfortable with it because when you have Russian troops in Belarusian territory, protests are highly unlikely," Viačorka said to Newsweek. "So it's like a guarantee of survival for Lukashenko.
"Lukashenko and Putin are symbiotic. They need each other. Lukashenko gives Putin everything he needs: territory, facilities, and infrastructure. Putin gives [Lukashenko] everything else," which keeps him in power.
© 2023 Newsmax. All rights reserved.