Official Minsk aspires to gain more weight on international arena
The Belarusian capital might host a trilateral meeting to discuss the situation in eastern Ukraine.
The Belarusian authorities have previously declared their readiness to become a platform for negotiations between Russia and Ukraine. Were the advisory group meeting (Ukraine – Russia – OSCE) to take place in Minsk, the Belarusian authorities would strengthen their international position. The Belarusian government also reckons that official Minsk’s increased regional importance and neutral position in the Russian-Ukrainian confrontation will help it continue the process of normalising relations with the EU and the U.S. without major changes in domestic policy.
President Lukashenka has met with the head of Chechnya Ramzan Kadyrov, who visited Minsk and the Minsk Automobile Plant. Minsk has always sought to have independent links with Russian regional elites, partially, to compensate for the Kremlin's diminishing interest in Belarus. In recent years, Belarus’ contacts with the Russian regions have been extremely intense. However, with some leaders of Russian regions, primarily heads of large republics, communication was more difficult to build. As many analysts in Minsk suggested, Minsk could regard contacts between President Lukashenka and the head of Chechnya as an additional communication channel for relieving tension in relations with the Kremlin. However, most likely, a trusting relationship with Kadyrov is a value for Minsk as such, provided Kadyrov’s broad business and political interests, and a high degree of autonomy for the Chechen leader from the Kremlin.