Don’t Let Lukashenko Off the Hook

A sure sign that the Russian war effort against Ukraine isn’t going well is when the rats who had supported Vladimir Putin’s invasion start jumping ship—at least the ships the Ukrainians have not yet sunk. 

One of those rats is Alexander Lukashenko, Belarus’ illegitimate dictator for 28 years, who in a recent interview with the Associated Press seemed to offer mild criticism of the Russian military campaign against Ukraine. “I feel like this operation has dragged on,” Lukashenko said.

This marks a change for Lukashenko, who unambiguously sided with Putin in the latter’s decision to invade Ukraine and even afforded Russian forces the use of Belarusian territory to launch one part of their assault. Lukashenko stopped short of sending Belarusian forces into the fighting, in large part out of concern for the domestic reaction to such a move, but he did almost everything else to support the Russian military campaign. 

 The international community must prepare now to act against Lukashenko when Putin inevitably withdraws his support. For his complicity in Putin’s war crimes and crimes against humanity—as well as for his brutal crackdown inside Belarus after stealing the 2020 presidential election—Lukashenko deserves a place in The Hague alongside Putin.

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