President Putin just gave an important interview to the Russian journalist Sergei Brilev in which he indicated that
* Russia and Belarus are allies in the CSTO
* Russia and Belarus are also Union states
* Russia has obligations towards Belarus
* Lukashenko has invoked these obligations
* Putin has agreed to create a “security reserve force” which is ready to intervene in Belarus in case of danger for the Belarusian state and sovereignty
* Putin added that these forces will only be used if “extremist elements” violently threaten the security and/or stability of the Belarusian state
* Putin added that there is no need for such a force now, and he hopes that there never will be
* Putin also added that neither the state nor the demonstrators should violate Belarusian laws (he did add that Belarusian cops are much less violent than the cops in the US).
It is important here NOT to start guessing what that force is, what it can do, etc.
Because Russia already had such forces, including light mobile military and police forces.
No, what is important is that Putin has just drawn a red line and made an implicit threat.
I consider that threat as absolutely credible. Recall that just a few days ago, Putin told western leaders to stay out of Belarus, and at least some of them now clearly got the message (not all, obviously).
But, first and foremost, this is a direct warning for Poland and the Baltic statlets: stay out or else…
This is also a clear message to Tikhanovskaia and her puppet-masters: forget about Belarus leaving the CSTO or the Union state; also forget about Belarus joining the EU or NATO. Ain’t gonna happen.President Putin says that Russia will help Belarus (UPDATED!)