Lukashenko rhetoric shows fallout between Minsk and Moscow

Arrest of 33 Russians comes as Belarusian president’s strategy of playing Russia and the west off each other founders
Rumours have circled in Russia for years that Mr Putin may have grander designs on Belarus. Tatiana Stanovaya, founder of political consulting firm R. Politik, claimed last week that Russia’s security council chief and the owner of Wagner, the Kremlin’s main mercenary group, were exploring “Belarus and Russia becoming a union with one currency, administered from Moscow” or even “completely integrating Belarus into Russia’s territory” as a province.

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