Once I kept Russia at a distance. Now Putin is naughty Satrap.

“He is very weak and will do anything to buy Putin’s support,” she said in a recent interview in Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania. She now presides over what amounts to a government-in-exile And where the potential US ambassador is based in Minsk.

On paper, Belarus and Russia have rejoined since the late 1990s, when the then Russian president, Boris Yeltsin, agreed with Mr. Lukashenko to form a so-called union state, an arrangement the Belarusian leader thought would dominate because Yeltsin was too weak, beleaguered by health and political problems. serious.

Since Mr. Putin replaced Yeltsin in the Kremlin on December 31, 1999, he has put Lukashenko in his place, making it clear that the federation-born state must be implemented – with Russia, not Belarus, which has called in the shots.

Meeting with Mr. Lukashenko in Moscow on Friday, Mr. Putin said that after years of delay, “serious progress” was now finally being made in integrating the two countries’ economic, political and military systems.

“We have a lot to discuss and to coordinate our positions on a range of issues,” the Russian president said ominously.

After years of resisting pressure from Moscow to recognize Crimea, Russia annexed from Ukraine in 2014Recently, Mr. Lukashenko said that Belarus had agreed that the Black Sea peninsula had in fact become part of Russia.

Regarding the status of Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk regions, which broke away with Russian support in 2014 and declared themselves “republics,” Lukashenko said Thursday he would follow Russia’s lead in how they would be treated.

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