via Wikimedia Commons

Ukrainian leaders have been warning NATO of a possible Russian strike against them, as early as this coming January. U.S. and NATO intelligence appears to corroborate the Russian military buildup in the region and have also warned of a possible Russian invasion.

While the risk of war appears real, one of Vladimir Putin’s security advisers says Russia sees a decided risk of “possible armed conflicts” with NATO member states in Europe, the Russian target may not be Ukraine, but Belarus.

The ongoing refugee crisis between Belarus, Poland, and the rest of the European Union (EU), are a key component in this mix.

“There are risks that members of international terrorist and extremist organizations, as well as subversive activities and terror attacks tools, may infiltrate into Russia,” said Grebenkin, the Russian foreign policy adviser, according to the Examiner.

“It stems from the fact that the number of hotbeds of military-political instability near our border is increasing,” he added.

Fully absorbing Belarus militarily into the Russian sphere is a key strategic goal for Putin, placing Russian troops directly on NATO borders.

The Washington Examiner reports:

Russian military activity around the borders of multiple NATO countries has increased in recent weeks, as Belarusian strongman Alexander Lukashenko has invoked the protection of the Kremlin as Belarusian security services shuttle migrants from the Middle East to the borders of their democratic neighbors. Those Russian military operations have alarmed Ukrainian officials, who fear another assault by Russian forces. Still, U.S. and European officials suspect Lukashenko also has cause to fear the Kremlin’s intentions.

According to one EU official, Putin could be using the current border buildups and crises as an excuse to expand Russia’s military presence in Belarus, which has resisted the Kremlin’s efforts to implement a decades-old ‘union state’ agreement between Minsk and Moscow.

While kowtowing to the Kremlin, Lukashenko tried to keep Putin at arm’s length in 2019 when Putin tried to pressure the former Soviet satellite state into a closer political union with Moscow.

The Examiner added:

“I personally think that one should not only look on the Ukraine angle on this,” said Ambassador Dirk Schuebel, who leads the European Union’s delegation to Belarus, during the Wilson Center event. “It is, in general terms, in Russian interest to be militarily present in Belarus, and I would see it in that context in the first place.”

NATO and the EU would be well served to review their options in case of a Russian incursion into Belarus rather than Ukraine. This could be Putin’s real target.

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

Paul Crespo is the Managing Editor of American Defense News. A defense and national security expert, he served as a Marine Corps officer and as a military attaché with the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) at US embassies worldwide. Paul holds degrees from Georgetown, London, and Cambridge Universities. He is also CEO of SPECTRE Global Risk, a security advisory firm, and President of the Center for American Defense Studies, a national security think tank.

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Stephen Russell
Stephen Russell
7 months ago

Coming Ez 38, 39 war ahead OT Bible

Gregory Scott Armand
Gregory Scott Armand
7 months ago

Ah … doubtful. Putin wants the USSR to be re-created at the Russian Empire and his likeness in every park on huge statues. That would mean moving all the way to the “Former Yugoslavia” which would mean a road trip right across Ukraine. He also needs a better supply method for Crimea which the U.S. (and the world) allowed him to take and keep.

Yep, Belarus will be included but they pose no gain right now and would only be taken first if there was a better strategic purpose. I just don’t see it considering they have enough troops and support there. NOW if the people continue to rise up and pose a risk to go “west” then all bets are off as Putin will put them down just to show them who is boss.

Next question is … how long will Putin live to implement his desire and will he step back from his timeline to go for short victories and not his reunification goal?

6 months ago

So voting for Biden will cause a nuclear Iran, a new cold war with Russia (at best), China taking over Taiwan, the Taliban coming back and terrorists from around the world swarming through our southern border, did I miss anything? Well done Biden voters, you really showed the country and the world how “brilliant” you are, perhaps you want to re-elect Biden too???

6 months ago
Reply to  P W

P W, I’ve no idea what the W stands for, but I suppose the P stands for PROPHET. And I’m sure you also know that Biden was not the choice of the American people, but Chairman Xi’s Manchurian Candidate Chao Bai Deng.