On September 21, 2022, Vladimir Putin made a statement that partial mobilization of population is announced in Russia. Formally, Belarus has not joined the war against Ukraine, though providing the territory to Russian aggressors for the attack. However, till now, the Belarusian troops have not crossed the border.
At the same time, the chronology of the events shows that preparation and training of the Belarusian military has intensified.
Presenting the chronology of mobilization in December 2022.
On December 3, 2022, the Defense Minister of Russia, Sergei Shoigu, arrived in Belarus to negotiate with the Defense Minister of Belarus, Viktor Khrenin. As the Ministry of Defense of Belarus reported, the airplane with the head of the Ministry of Defense of Russia landed at the airfiled in Machulishchy.
«The Defense Minister of the Republic of Belarus, Lieutenant General Viktor Khrenin, and the Defense Minister of the Russian Federation, Army Genral Sergei Shoigu, discussed the pressing issues of the bilateral military and military-technical cooperation and signed a protocol between the Republic of Belarus and the Russian Federation on amendments to the agreement of joint provision of regional security in the military sphere of December 19, 1997», the ministry reported.
On December 3, 2022, Aliaksandr Lukashenka had a meeting with the Defense Minister of the Russian Federation, Sergei Shoigu. They discussed preparation of military units of Belarus and Russia, deployed in Belarus, and also talked about the war in Ukraine.
«I think, the Belarusian Defense Minister has told you about the situation in Belarus, about training combat coordination of Belarusian and Russian units deployed in Belarus. I must say, we had a very serious approach to the matter. Both our and your officers are training the guys. Training Belarusians and Russians, too. So that in case of necessity, our first lines – the defenders of the Union State, could repel every aggression,» Lukashenka said at the meeting. «From first aid kits to… I am not speaking about uniforms and other stuff, weapons. We don’t divide anybody here: we are training today as a unified group, as a unified army. Everybody around knows about that. We are not hiding that. It’s impossible to hide that in the modern world, actually».
According to him, that was the agreement he had made with the president of Russia, Vladimir Putin.
On December 12, 2022, the Telegram channel «Community of railway workers of Belarus Live» informed that a military echelon N. 963 with 13 tanks T-72Б3 arrived to Belarus from the Russian Federation. The echelon arrived to the station of destination on December 10, 2022, at 2.05 a.m. The tanks started to be unloaded on December, 10, at 5.10 p.m.
On December, 13, 2022, the Ministry of Defence of Belarus announced an unexpected check of combat rediness on the orders of Aliaksandr Lukashenka. «The activities are going to be comprehensive, conducted in the shortest possible terms, the troops are going to advance to designated areas, conduct their engineering equipment, organize their protection and defense, as well as build bridge crossings over Neman and Berezina», the communication said.
It also indicated there that «in the said period, it is planned to organize movement of military equipment and personnel, as well as to temporarily restrict movement of citizens (vehicles) on separate public roads and sectors of terrain».
On December 14, 2022, a Russian airborne warning and control system (AWACS) airplane of the Military Space Forces of the Russian Federation landed at the military airfield of Machulishchy. The AWACS А-50У of the MSF of RF «Sergey Atayants» with the registration plate RF-93966 landed at Machulishchy airfield around 3.27 p.m. of Minsk time. It was exactly А-50 of MSF RF with the plate number RF-93966 that had been spotted in Belarus in February, 2022, at the beginning of the Russian war against Ukraine. It coordinated the strikes of Russian cruise missiles against targets in Ukraine, first of all, in Kyiv.
On December 14, 2022, the Telegram channel «Community of railway workers of Belarus Live» reported that at least 60 units of military equipment of the Armed Forces of Russia were deployed in Belarus by two military echelons. The first train departed from the city of Chebarkul on December, 8, and arrived to the railway station of Palonka in Baranavichsky district of Brest region on December, 12. It carried 30-40 units of new Ural trucks supposedly designated to supply the Russian troops deployed at the «Obuz-Lesnovsky» training ground, the nearest to the Palonka railway station.
The second echelon was sent from the station of Ostrogozhsk of Voronezh region of Russia on December 11, 2022, at 11.43 p.m., which arrived to Palonka on December, 14, at 7.50 a.m. The train included 26 flat cars with tracked and wheeled equipment of the Russian armed forces: 20 Urals, fuel trucks, at least four BPM-2.
On December 18, 2022, the head of the fourth division of the the Main Directorate of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Belarus, Aliaksandr Shalpuk, informed that over 85% of people liable for military duty had passed the second stage of the registration data verification. Also, Shalpuk talked about mobilization assignments that Belarusians arriving to enlistment offices receive.
«That assignment is established by the legislation of our country: its form, issue procedure, who it is issued to. The assignment does not restrict citizens from moving or otherwise, it is a document that is telling a citizen that he is assigned to a specific military division in a specific military unit in accordance with his military occupation speciality. Such assignments had been issued by military enlistment offices before, but because the verification activities are now conducted in shorter terms, and not during a whole year, as it was done before, our citizens got the wrong idea that the assignment is given to everybody who enters a military enlistment office. It is not true. The assignments are issued to a limited number of people subject to military service», he said.
On December 19, 2022, the Internet mass media Zerkalo reported that Belarusians encounter restrictions to travel abroad on the order of military enlistment offices.
According to the information, provided be Zerkalo, one of the subscribers of a chat of Belarusians in Poland wrote that he had not been allowed to leave Belarus. The man was confident that the reason for that was a decision of a commissariat.
Another Belarusian was also restricted from leaving the country. He was going to permanently live abroad and get a PP series passport. For that, the man had had to close his individual entrepreneurship, pay all the debts to the state and child support (if applicable), and also to get a consent from the military enlistment office.
«If any governmental body does not think that a person can move to another country, a letter arrives that the departure for permanent residence abroad is prohibited», explains Mikalai. «As I understand, the reason to prohibit my departure was that I had not served in the army. I am not fit for service due to my state of health, but I received a draft notice for another medical examination. I could not go there, as my visa was about to expire. Therefore, I just ignored the draft notice and did not show up for the examination.»
As he was prohibited to leave the country for permanent residence, the man decided not to risk and crossed the border illegally.
On December, 19, 2022, at the press conference in Yereva, the General Secretary of CSTO, Stanislav Zas, informed that the for the upcoming year the Collective Security Treaty Organization had planned a number of trainings on Weastern borders, that is, on the territory of Belarus; for now joint Belarusian-Russian activities are sufficient for strategic deterrence.
As Zas said, the CSTO member states are going to conduct a number of joint trainings on Western borders in 2023; the trainings are going to be held in Belarus.
Also, the CSTO General Secretary claimed that joint Belarusian-Russian activities, that he called «a certain measure of deterrence», are alredy being conducted in the territory of our country. According to him, no expansion of the CSTO peacekeeping forces is being planned now.
On December 19, 2022, the Russian Defense Minister, Sergei Shoigu, arrived in Minsk. At 1.09 p.m., a special purpose aircraft passenger plane, control point Tu-214PU-SBUS with the registration plate RA-64529, landed in Minsk. The plane belongs to the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation and is equipped with a special onboard communication unit SBUS-214.
Sergei Shoigu had a meeting with the Defense Minister of Belarus, Viktor Khrenin. The parties discussed issues of bilateral military and military-technical cooperation. The heads of the military bodies were also expected to participate in the negotiations between Aliaksandr Lukashenka and Vladimir Putin with restricted attendance.
On December 19, 2022, Goskomvoenprom of Belarus reported that investigation tests of a recent development of the «Precise Electromechanics Factory» Republican Production Unitary Enterprise, a simulator of infrared radiation of a aerial objects IKI-1 had been successfully completed at Domanovo military training area in Ivatsevichsky district. «The product is completely of local origin,» says proudly the ministry. «There are not imported spare parts in it. The construction design was completed in May.»
IKI-1 is a decoy imitating an aerial target for anti-aircraft guided missiles with a heat-seeking head. It is used to teach and train anti-aircraft gunners of portable anti-aircraft missile complexes Igla, Igla-1, Strela-10 air defense missile systems. Also, the new product can lighten the targets for gun-missile systems «Tunguska», Tor, Osa-AKM air defense system and ZU-23 in the conditions of a test site.
On December 19, 2022 the press service of the Ministry of Defense of Belarus reported that check of combat rediness activities in the Armed Forces of Belarus had been completed. The check was carried out since December, 13, on the orders of Aliaksandr Lukashenka and under control of the State Secretary of the Security Council, Alexander Volfovich.
On December 19, 2022, the president of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin, and Aliaksandr Lukashenka, illegally holding the power in Belarus, held a joint press conference on the results of Russian-Belarusian negotiations.
Vladimir Putin: «Of course, in the course of the today’s negotiations, we have discussed in detail the issues of creating a unified defense space, ensuring security of the Union State, as well as cooperation in the framework of the Collective Security Treaty Organization, especially because the CSTO presidency passes to Belarus on January, 1.
I want to remind, that in the framework of consequent implementation of the joint Military Doctrine of Russia and Belarus, a joint military planning is being conducted, and a joint Russian-Belarusian Regional Grouping of Forces is acting. Currently, combat coordination activities of military units and divisions of our coutries are being held in the territory of Belarus. A single air defense system has been created and is on duty. We have agreed to continue take all the necessary measures to strongly ensure security of both our countries, to give priority to preparation of troops, increasing their combat readiness and capability and to continue regular joint military trainings and other combat training activities, execute mutual supply of the demanded weapons and jointly produce new military equipment.
I consider it possible to continue also the implementation of suggestions of the president of Belarus on preparing crew members of reequipped combat aircrafts of the army of Belarus for possible application of air-launched munitions with a special military unit.»
Also, Putin talked about transferring anti-aircraft missile systems C-400 and missile launchers Iskander to Belarus.
On December 20, 2022, in Minsk, at the seating of the Inter-Confessional Consultative Council under the Commissioner for Religious and Ethnic Affairs, the head of the Main Directorate of Ideology of the Ministry of Defense, Major General Leonid Kasinsky, spoke in front of the heads and representatives of all confessions of Belarus.
Kasinsky told the priests about the military and political situation and about the measures of national security protection. Here is what his speech was about:
– NATO is increasing its presence in Europe creating new strike aviation groups, weapons and equipment depots;
– NATO countries are conducting more trainings, including trainings held in the Belarusian direction;
– the situation at the Belarusian-Ukrainian border is complicated;
– the neighboring countries are establishing terrorist organizations and conducting anti-Belarusian informational campaign.
On December 20, 2022, observers communicated that trains with Russian military equipment and servicemen moved to the Southern borders of Belarus. On that day, an echelon carrying 23 T-80 tanks departed from Palonka station near Baranavichy to Luninets. In Luninets, the echelon stood still for almost 24 hours, and then it went back without unloading the equipment.
On December 20, 2022, the head of the the Commander of the Joint Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Lieutenant General Serhiy Nayev, claimed that Russian airplanes were taking off from Belarusian airfields to set out Ukrainian future targets for their missile strikes. He also noted that the second motorized rifle division of the First Tank Army of the Russian Federation, an aviation group, as well as divisions armed with Iskander operational-tactical missile systems with ballistic missiles are currently in Belarus.
«That potential is sufficient to create a threat to Ukraine and to conduct tactical actions with limited objectives,» said General Nayev in response to the question if those forces were enough for another invasion from the territory of Belarus.
The head of the Joint Forces noted that Ukraine is closely monitoring what equipment Russia is deploying to the territory of Belarus.
«The level of military threat is gradually growing, but we also take adequate measures. Besides that, the General Staff has provided for a significant build-up of troops in case a considerable increase in forces and equipment is observed on the opposite side,» General Nayev said.
On December 21, 2022, the Telegram channel «Community of railway workers of Belarus Live» reported that an echelon with military equipment arrive to Palonka railway station of Baranavichsky division of the Belarusian Railway. The echelon had departed from Zaslonovo station (Minsk department of the Belarusian Railway) on December, 20, at 6.20 a.m. It transported military equipment and personnel of the Armied Forces of Russia. The echelon consisted of 51 cars:
– 46 flat cars with military equipment: 31 tanks T-72Б3 and Т-80, 13 units of wheeled freight transport, one BTR-80 and one tracked engineering vehicle;
– 3 covered cars (with escort, equipment and VM);
– 2 passenger cars (with military personnel of about 100 persons).
The itinerary was: Zaslonovo – Orsha-East – Cherveno – Mogilev-2 – Osipovichy-1 – Slutsk – Baranavichy-Palesskiye – Baranavichy-Centralnye – Borovtsy – Palonka.
The train arrived to the destination on December, 21, at 5.30 a.m.
On December 21, 2022, the Ministry of Defense of Belarus published a video of Belarusian and Russian military conducting combat coordination activities at Belarusian training grounds. In the framework of combat coordination, the crews took firing positions and started target search for further destruction. During the training complex, the servicemen trained urban fighting including building- and room-clearing operations. In forests, military equipment management classes were held.
On December 21, 2022, Vladimir Putin and Aliaksandr Lukashenka claimed that airplanes of the Air Forces of Belarus have already been refurnished to be used with special (meaning, nuclear) combat element, and their crew teams are now undergoing the necessary retraining. Meanwhile, for many years, Russia has been reproaching NATO that such cooperation contradicts the letter and spirit of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Kommersant asked the MFA of Russia if such an upgrade of Belarusian aircrafts is not a violation of the NPT. They responded it was not.
The MFA commented that countermeasures taken by Russia and Belarus are being «taken in strict compliance with obligations under NPT».
«Currently, we are speaking about transferring Iskander-M complexes of double equipment with missiles with conventional warheads to the Republic of Belarus, and also about modifying a part of Belarusian aircrafts Su-25 to make them technically capable of carrying nuclear weapons. At the same time, we are not planning to transfer the technology of refurnishing aircrafts into nuclear weapon carriers,» said the representative of the MFA of RF, Maria Zakharova.
According to the response of the MFA, currently «it is not planned neither to physically equip Belarusian systems with nuclear warheads, nor to deploy such warheads in the Belarusian territory», «no provisions are made as for building any objects for storage of nuclear warheads in Belarus, as usual, they are going to be kept within the territory of Russia», and «training of Belarusian servicemen is going to be executed in Russian training centers according to programmes that exclude nuclear warheads operation topics».
On December 23, 2022, the assistant to the Belarusian Minister of Defence for ideological work in the armed forces, Leonid Kasinsky, said on TV that another batch of Tor-M2K air defense systems had arrived to Belarus from Russia. The batch of weapons was received in the framework of the existing intergovernmental agreement on military-technical cooperation between Belarus and Russia. Within the next couple of days, the said systems were supposed to arrive to military formations and units to which they are designated. The personnel had already passed the training and successfuly learned to operate those systems.
On December 23, 2022, the State Secretary of the Security Council of Belarus Alexander Volfovich announced new checks of combat readiness of the Armed Forces of Belarus. According to Volfovich, the previous check-up showed that Belarusian servicemen «were highly motivated to execute the given tasks excellently, in a quality manner».
«The checks will continue; a detailed analysis is being made. We are going to correct some things and to aim at elevating other things to a higher standard. We will continue working. In general, the system is in force, it is functioning today,» claimed Volfovich.
On December 23, 2022, the head the Main Directorate of the Main Organizational and Mobilization Department of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Belarus, Aliaksandr Shalpuk, informed that in 2023 it is planned to draft 9 thousand people to reserve trainings. Also, no reserve training was planned for the rest of the current year. That was reported by Minsk Radio. According to Shalpuk, also in 2022 about 9 thousand people were drafted to reserve trainings.
Previously, the Defense Minister of Belarus, Viktor Khrenin, claimed that «over 130 thousand people have passed mobilization reserve trainings in Belarus in the last 20 years.» It means that the average estimate is about 6.5 thousand people per year. That is, in Belarus, the number of people participating in such trainings in 2022 exceeded the average number of any year in the previous 20 years by 2.5 thousand. In 2023, it is also planned to draft 2.5 thousand more people than in the last years before 2022.
On December 24, 2022, the Chief of the Defence Intelligence of Ukraine, Major General Kyrylo Budanov, in his interview to New York Times, called the activity of the Russian army in Belarus a part of «disinformation campaign» and said that for now he does not see any actual preparation for invasion of Ukraine from the North.
Kyrylo Budanov said that the Ukrainian Intelligence cannot say unequivocally that an offensive from Belarus is not possible, but currently the agency has no information confirming the existence of such threat. According to the Chief of the Intelligence, there are no strike groups of Russian troops in Belarus, and the Belarusian training grounds are used to train recently mobilized Russian citizens which are sent to the Eastern Front in Donbas upon completion of the training course. Besides that, Budanov said, Russian army deployed in Belarus has insufficient armored vehicles in good condition to carry out an offensive.
He also noted, that Russia is artificially creating tension at the Northen border of Ukraine by organizing «carousels» with military trains. According to Budanov, not long before a whole train with Russian servicemen had arrived to Belarusian-Ukrainian borderline, but half a day later they went back.
On December 25, 2022, the assistant to the Belarusian Defense Minister for ideological work in the armed forces, Leonid Kasinsky, spoke on STV channel about the accelerated procedure of receiving anti-aircraft missile systems C-400 and Missile launchers Iskander.
According to him, Iskander and C-400 «can produce fire damage to both ground and air targets at longer ranges, at strategic depth».
«As of today, our servicemen, crew teams, squads, have passed a complete course of training at joint training and combat centers of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation and the Republic of Belarus. As of today, such weaponry is on combat duty and is totally ready to perform tasks for the intended purpose. Besides that, during the meeting of the heads of the countries, the issue of reequipped air assault weapons able to accept special warheads was discussed. As the heads of the states said, today airplanes have been reequipped, and the training of aircrew teams and flight officers to task performing is going on,» Kasinsky added.
On December 25, 2022, head of the social protection and ideological work of the military commission of Minsk, Vladimir Ignatik, explained why verification of records of registration data of those liable for military service had been so tense in 2022.
«It is necessary to understand that all those liable for military service fall into three categories. Those who represent the main part of the military personnel, those in the reserve and those in unrestricted remnants. If we take the total number of those liable for military service in Minsk as 100%, then the main part constitutes 20%. 30% of the reserve are added to it. Therefore, year after year, gradually and on a planned basis, we’ve been working with those 30%. Today the head of the country gave us the task to verify data records of those in unrestricted remnants. We must complete that verification of the registration data records in a very short term of two months,» Ignatik explained.
He noted that it is a huge and extensive task. Previously, it was done in the term of the whole year, and today the task is to carry it out in two months. According to him, Belarusian have shown high consciousness: to date, about 85% of the registration data of those liable for military service have already been verified.
On December 26, 2022, the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation said that the Russian servicemen making part of the Regional Grouping of Forces continue a course of intensive combat training at training grounds of the Armed Forces of Belarus.
The Russian military body published a video of training of troops of radiation, chemical and biological protection of the Western Military District and demonstrated a «lab on wheels», a machine of chemical reconnaissance – RHM. Another demonstrated vehicle was TDA smoke machines used to generate aerosol smokescreens.