Will there be a war?
On January 17, Lukashenka announced large-scale military exercises in the western and southern regions of Belarus. In turn, Deputy Minister of Defense of the Russian Federation Alexander Fomin spoke more specifically and outlined the region for the upcoming exercises, Flagpole writes.
“The practical actions of the troops (forces) will take place at the “Domanovsky”, “Gozhsky”, “Obuz-Lesnovsky”, “Brest” and “Osipovichski” training grounds, as well as in separate areas located on the territory of the Republic of Belarus. It is planned to use the airfields of Baranavichy, Luninets, Lida and Machulishchy,” Deputy Defense Minister Alexander Fomin said.
At the same time, photos and videos began to appear on the network, which depicted the movement of the Russian equipment on the territory of Belarus. Based on the information available at the moment, the “separate areas” that Alexander Fomin mentioned were the regions of the Homel region bordering Ukraine. Today, it is already safe to name some of the locations of the Russian military in the territory of the Homel region. They can be identified not only by publications on social networks, but also by reports from state media.
On January 18, the state media reported and showed how Russian troops were met in the Kalinkavichy district. Chairman of the Kalinkavichy district executive committee Siarhei Hvozd greeted the echelon with Russian weapons with bread and salt.
Hvozd told the Russian servicemen that holding such events is a necessity dictated by the time, and Belarusians are always happy to see their Russian brothers on the Belarusian land.
On the evening of January 19, Russian troops were greeted with bread and salt already in Yelsk. The Russian servicemen were welcomed by chairman of the regional executive committee Viktar Zamostsik.
From there, according to local residents, the military equipment moved in the direction of the village of Bahutsichy, which is located several dozens kilometers away from the border with Ukraine.
Meanwhile, the Russian military has been spotted not only in Palesse.
On January 17 in Homel, unmarked military equipment was seen in different parts of the city. Equipment in protective coloring was seen in Navabelitsa, at the Homel-Niatsotny railway station, as well as in Ziabrauka, where a military airfield was previously located. Among the military equipment, in particular, the Uragan multiple launch rocket system was noticed.
On January 19, the deployment of a Russian military camp near Rechytsa was recorded. Experts of the Conflict Intelligence Team have identified the transport-loading vehicle 9T452 of the Uragan multiple launch rocket systems in the published photos.
The Russian military continues to come here until today. On January 21, supposedly engineering troops arrived in Rechytsa. Among the equipment, tracked armored personnel carriers MT-LB, a mobile radio station R-166-0.5 and a satellite communications vehicle R-439-MD2 were noticed.
The movement of the military equipment near the borders with Ukraine was also seen in the western regions of the Homel region. On January 20, a car was driven from Mazyr towards the town of Lelchytsy, outwardly resembling an BREM-1 (armored recovery vehicle), based on the T-72 tank. The machine is designed for the evacuation of stuck and damaged equipment, as well as for repair and maintenance in the field.
Belarusian military analyst Yahor Lebyadok spoke about the possible development of events on his Telegram channel:
“So far, the exercises look like a continuation of Putin's policy of demonstrating the seriousness of his intentions in negotiations with NATO on guarantees of the non-proliferation of the alliance's influence, in fact, on the division of spheres of influence in the Eastern European region. The vector of tension for Ukraine has already been quite tangibly created in the north.
Many analysts do not predict attacks on Ukraine from the Belarusian direction of the Russian ground forces (and, perhaps, in vain). The main attack option expected by many is to seize the advantage in the air to send paratroopers to the territory of Ukraine, inflict missile and air strikes on the troops and infrastructure.
If Belarus provides its territory for an attack on Ukraine, this will, under international law, mean an aggression against Ukraine (as has often happened in history, this will be eliminated by provocation and “forced response, self-defense”, in this case, collective). Ukraine will be able to respond to this with missile strikes, the use of aviation, UAVs, and also send sabotage groups to Belarus. It is on SR22 [“Allied Resolve 2022”] that the build-up of air defense is being practiced to prevent missile and air attacks, as well as the “search, blocking and destruction of illegal armed formations and enemy sabotage and reconnaissance groups”, i.e. measures to prevent a possible strike or counterattack by Ukrainian forces.