Last February 26, according to the leaked March 1, 2023, top secret document mentioned above, Ukraine launched a covert sabotage operation in neighboring Belarus, a country friendly to Russia but thus far holding back from sending troops. In many ways, the operation was a carbon copy of the dual drone attack on the Kremlin several months later. Ukrainian intelligence agents inside Belarus launched two small weaponized drones that attacked and damaged a highly sophisticated Russian airborne early-warning aircraft. Known as an A-50U Mainstay, the plane had been deployed to Belarus’s Machulishchy Air Base south of Minsk. Although nervous officials in Kiev issued an order calling off the attack at the last minute, it went ahead as planned. The Ukraine government regularly denies involvement in such covert operations, as it did with the Kremlin drone attacks and the recent assassinations. But the leaked top secret documents make it clear that the United States knew the February operation was carried out by Ukraine’s Security Service, the SBU, and “its agents in Belarus.”
Shortly after that attack, a dual Russian-Ukrainian national was arrested by Belarus police. Then the country’s leader, Alexander Lukashenko, issued a warning to both Ukraine and the United States. “A terrorist was trained,” he said. “The security service of Ukraine, the leadership of the CIA, behind closed doors, are carrying out an operation against the Republic of Belarus,” he said.
The United States currently provides Ukraine with massive amounts of intelligence—but only minimal oversight and restrictions on how they use it. These circumstances give rise to the perception, justified or not, that Washington is an active collaborator—a cobelligerent—in Ukraine’s growing list of bloody political assassinations and drone attacks like those on the Kremlin, in Belarus, and elsewhere in Russia. Such reasoning was only reinforced by Biden’s own words early in the war indicating a desire for regime change in the Kremlin: “For God’s sake this man cannot remain in power.”
Unless the Biden administration demands an end to Kiev’s thinly veiled use of assassination and terrorism within Russia, at the same time it is on the receiving end of America’s most valuable spyware, the risk of dragging the US deeper and deeper into an endless quagmire will continue to grow. That’s terrain the United States seems to have occupied in every recent war, from Vietnam to Afghanistan to Iraq. But in this one—with two of the parties having 11,405 nuclear weapons aimed at each other—the stakes are much, much higher.
R&I – TP