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Despite fence-mending with the West, Belarus takes further steps toward developing security ties with its closest ally, Russia, Sergei Blagov writes for ISN Security Watch.
Belarus, dubbed Europe's last dictatorship, has reiterated pledges to create a "union state" with Russia and act as Moscow's security outpost in the West. In November, Russia and Belarus are due to unify their air defense systems in an apparent bid to counter NATO's eastward advance.
Russian officials have made it clear they view a western military assault well within a realm of possibility.
Earlier in October, Russia held unprecedented strategic missile demonstrations, including the firing of ballistic missiles from nuclear submarines and launching cruise missiles with strategic bombers in highly sophisticated war games. The missile demonstrations were apparently designed to warn the West against pressuring Russia.