From the perspective of international law, it is difficult to overstate the seriousness of Belarus’ actions.
Russia and Eastern Europe
Russia’s annexation of Crimea and support for rebel forces in Eastern Ukraine have precipitated a dramatic fracture in relations between between Russia and the West. In response, a broad Western economic sanctions regime has bitten into the Russian economy, and the United States has sought to shore up support among Eastern European and Baltic states. The annexation and response represent a major test-case for international governance, principles of sovereignty and the reliability of the American security umbrella, particularly NATO.