On September 21, 2022, Putin made a statement that partial mobilization of population had been 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.
We bring to your attention the chronology of mobilization of the Belarusian army for the month of January, 2023.
On January 03, 2023, the deputy commander for ideological work and a head of ideological work of the Belarusian Air Force and Air Defence Forces, Anatoliy Bulavko, said on STV channel that the Ministry of Defense of Belarus considers cooperation with the NATO to be inexpedient.
“You know, there is such a notion as contractibility and pragmatism. After all, probably, these people – it’s difficult to call such people leaders of the state, because a leader of a state takes care of his state, of its people. We see something quite different in Europe. So, those leaders of the so-called European states, – yes, they are impossible to negotiate with. Because they cannot take any decisions by themselves”, he said.
According to the representative of the Ministry of Defense, NATO sees an enemy in Belarus and Russia, therefore, there are no prospects for cooperation with the alliance.
On January 04, 2023, at the railway station of Borisov, people noticed an unusual crawling text: “All male citizens aged from 18 to 60 must come to a military enlistment office or a village executive committee for verification of the registration data”.
On January 05, 2023, the press service of the Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Belarus informed that buildup of Regional Grouping of Forces of Belarus and Russia continued. Military personnel, weapons, military and special hardware of the armed forces of Russia continued arriving to Belarus. Also, a joint flight training was planned.
“Military personnel, weapons, military and special hardware of the armed forces of Russia continue arriving to Belarus. Further combat coordination activities with the arriving divisions are planned to be held at training grounds of Belarus”, the communication said.
Besides that, a joint tactical flight training was planned to be held. A military formation of the Russian Aerospace Forces was going to participate in the event from the side of Russia.
“Joint training of the Belarusian and Russian parts of the Regional Grouping of Forces is comprehensive and covers not only the combat component, but also the supporting systems”, the ministry added.
On January 05, 2023, the Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Belarus communicated that another supply of military deliveries arrived to Belarus from Russia: BTR-82A, BTR-80К, armored medical and maintenance-recovery vehicles.
On January 05, 2023, the head of the International Military Cooperation Department of Belarus, Valery Revenko, claimed that allegedly the aim of the enforcement of the Regional Grouping of Forces of Belarus and Russia was to strengthen the defense potential of the Union State.
“In the framework of the enforcement of the Regional Grouping of Forces, Russian divisions and weapons, as well as military and special hardware of the part of the grouping of forces arrive to Belarus. Further on, the air component will be increased to conduct the joint training. The aim of the enforcement of the grouping is to strengthen the defense potential of the Union State. The measures are not directed against third countries”, Revenko said.
On January 05, 2023, a huge column of military equipment was noticed on the railway in Minsky district. The echelon, according to eyewitnesses, was moving in the direction of Brest. Most cars were marked with the letter “Z”.
On January 06, 2023, Aliaksandr Lukashenka arrived to the 230th Obuz-Lesnovsky Combined Arms Training Range where the Russian part of the joint grouping of forces is deployed.
As the Ministry of Defense said, representatives of the Russian Armed Forces reported to Lukashenka about completion of combat coordination of units and formations of the Regional Grouping of Forces. “At this stage, the divisions of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation are ready to perform tasks for the intended purpose”, the representative of the Russian Armed Forces reported.
On January 06, 2023, it became known that the Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Belarus conducted a methodological gathering with company commanders of special operations forces of Belarus. Among other things, the servicemen got acquainted with the Russian experience gained during invasion of Ukraine.
The gathering with special operation forces commanders took place at the premises of the 38th Brest Guards Separate Airborne Assault Brigade. There, they were told about the experience of the Russian aggression against Ukraine. The covered issues included tactical medicine, provision of first medical aid to wounded and injured, work with means of reinforcement and in mixed combat formations, practicing ambushes, working with drones of various types.
On January 06, 2023, the State Security Committee (KGB) reported that starting from January, 5, it would be conducting in Minsk and Vitebsk regions a training to check combat readiness of the state bodies to reaction and interaction to acts of terrorism.
The participants of the activity include formations of the State Security Committee (the KGB), the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the State Border Committee, the Armed Forces, the Ministry of Emergency Situations of the Republic of Belarus and other bodies. The scenario of the exercise provided for the use of military equipment.
On January 06, 2023, Belarus passed a large lot of individual first aid kits to Russian servicemen, reported the press service of Aliaksandr Lukashenka. As he claimed, his son Mikalai Lukashenka approved the first aid kits himself.
During his visit to Obuz-Lesnovsky Training Range, Aliaksandr Lukashenka handed individual first-aid kits to the Russian military, saying that they were elaborated, exclusively at the Belarusian enterprises and staffed with Belarusian products.
“My younger son brought me a NATO first-aid kit and ours. He said: “Dad, what is it?” and started opening it. He said: “It is people’s life”. He is studying at Biotechnological (faculty), and now they have it like doctors, but he is a doctor all his life. And he started showing me that. So, I began looking, in detail: NATO’s, Ukrainian, Polish, but they are based on NATO ones, and Russian, Belarusian. The latter are more practical.”
On January 06, 2023, one after another, two echelons with Russian soldiers and military equipment arrived to Belarus. They make part of the Regional Grouping of Forces, the Ministry of Defense informed.
The first train arrived in the morning; it delivered a batch of Russian trucks. The letter “Z”, a symbol of Russian aggression in the war against Ukraine, cultivated at the state level, could be noticed on some of the trucks.
A bit later, the second train from Russia arrived. According to the photo, it carried armed vehicles, fuel trucks and freight cars. The echelon arrived at Palonka station near Baranavichy, close to the 230th Obuz-Lesnovsky Combined Arms Training Range where the Russian part of the joint grouping of forces are deployed.
On January 06, 2023, the State Secretary of the Security Council of Belarus, Alexander Volfovich, claimed that deployment of the joint Regional Grouping of Forces with Russia is an “element of strategic deterrence” which is supposed to “cool hot heads in the West”.
“The grouping has successfully deployed, joint combat training classes have been organized both with the servicemen of the Russian Federation and the servicemen of the Republic of Belarus. Combat coordination, cooperation, working out the issues of the cooperation, everything as it should be. The Regional Grouping of Forces is one of the elements of the strategic deterrence. The element which today should probably cool hot heads in the West with its aggressive politics towards the Republic of Belarus, the Union State”, the Secretary of the Security Council said. According to him, Aliaksandr Lukashenka is personally controlling the issues of combat readiness of the Republic of Belarus, as well as the course and quality of the combat training.
On January 08, 2023, the Ministry of Defence of the Repulic of Belarus informed that from January, 16, till February, 1, a joint tactical flight exercise of aviation divisions of the Armed Forces of Belarus and Russia integrated into the Regional Grouping of Forces was going to be held.
The Ministry also informed, that the aviation component from the Military Space Forces of the Russian Federation had arrived to Belarus. Indeed, in the morning of the same day, observers informed that nine MI-8, MI-24 helicopters of the MSF of the RF, some of them with the symbol “Z”, landed in Belarus.
On January 09, 2023, the press service of the Ministry of Defense of Belarus informed that the servicemen of the 7th Engineer Regiment of the North-Western Operational Command established a pontoon crossing across the Berezina River. Soon after that, a tank unit of the 19th Guards Separate Mechanized Brigade moved to the other side of the river by that crossing.
On January 09, 2023, it became known that Russia depoloyed another echelon with military equipment and soldiers to Belarus. According to the information, provided by railway workers, the echelon departed from the Russian Zaytsevka station on January, 4, and arrived to the Belarusian Baranavichy-Palesskiye station on the afternoon of January, 8.
The echelon consisted of about 30 flat cars carrying tracked and wheeled military vehicles, 2 covered cars with equipment and 2 passenger cars with the personnel – about 100 people.
On January 10, 2023, the press service of the Ministry of Defense of Belarus informed that the activities of the verification of the registration data had been completed in Belars: 95% of people liable for military service had passed it. The ministry reminded that the verification had been carried out from the middle of October to December, 2022, on the orders of Lukashenka.
They claimed that Belarusians “treated the activities of enforcement of the defense potential of the country with high responsibility and understanding”: according to the Ministry of Defense, over 95% of those liable for military service had passed the verification of the registration data.
On January 10, 2023, a company commander of a Belarusian military unit was convicted for abuse of power. For violence against his subordinates, that included shooting a pneumatic gun and using special means, he was sentenced to 5 years of imprisonment (a year less under amnesty), a fine and was stripped out of his rank.
As the ministry said, from February, 2021, to January, 2022, the defendant was a company commander in a Belarusian military unit. With the aim to achieve discipline in the unit entrusted to him, he used physical violence against soldiers, including use of a pneumatic gun and special means. 18 conscript soldiers were recognized as victims in the case.
In court, the defendant pleaded guilty and repented of his deeds. He was found guilty under Part 2. Art. 455 of the Criminal Code (Abuse of authority or excessive use of power combined with violence or committed with the use of a weapon) and sentenced to 5 years of imprisonment.
On January 11, 2023, the Ministry of Defense of Belarus informed that anti-aircraft missile units “advanced to designated areas and were put on combat duty”. “According to the plan of the Commander of the Air Force and Air Defense of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Belarus, air-defense build-up of the Republic of Belarus and Russia has been carried out”, the communication said.
On January 11, 2023, a sudden check of combat rediness started in the 72nd Guardia Joint Training Centre for Warrant Officers and Junior Professionals. The activity was held on the decision of the defense minister. The ministry disclosed no further detailes.
On January 11, 2023, it became known that an echelon from Russia carrying military hardware and about 750 of manpower arrived to the railway station of Chepino (Vitebsk). According to the information, provided by railway workers, another echelon departed from the Russian Omsk station on January, 3, and arrived to Chepino station in Vitebsk on January, 9.
The echelon consisted of 40 cars: 15 passenger cars with about 750 of manpower, 10 freight cars carrying equipment and ammunition and 15 flat cars loaded with tracked and wheeled military vehicles.
On January 12, 2023, the press service of the Ministry of Defense of Belarus informed that a Commission of the Ministry of Defense of Russia headed by the Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Ground Forces, an Army General, Oleg Salyukov, arrived to Belarus.
“Military units and divisions of the Russian component of the Regional Grouping of Forces deployed in the training grounds of the Armed Forces of Belarus, were inspected”, the communication said.
It was also noted, that during the inspection “the quality of combat coordination training classes was checked and the readiness to perform tasks for the intended purpose in the interests of provision of military security of the Union State was evaluated”.
On January 12, 2023, it became known that an echelon with military equipment and military personnel of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation went from Belarus to Russia. The destination was the station of Liskinsky department of the South-East railway of the Russian Railway.
The military echelon N. 961 departed on January, 11, from Chepino station of the Vitebsk Division of Belarusian Railway to the Russian station of Rossosh. The echelon consisted of 48 cars, including:
– 8 passenger cars (with military personnel of the Armed Forces of the RF: of about 400 persons).
– 3 covered cars (with equipment);
– 37 flat cars (with loaded tracked and wheeled military vehicles).
On January 12, 2023, Aliaksandr Lukashenka signed an Ordinance to appoint the Major General Aleksandr Bas the head of the Main Combat Training Directorate of the Armed Forces of Belarus. Before that, Aleksandr Bas held the post of Deputy Commander of the Western Operational Command of the Armed Forces.
On January 13, 2023, the military commissioner of the Brest region, Oleg Konovalov, said that people liable to military service that had not passed verification of the registration data, might be restricted from leaving Belarus.
– As for those less than 3% who have not passed the verification, we are ready to work with those people till the end of January. One can turn to any military enlistment office by any communication means. <…> And starting from the month of February, those who have not passed the verification will most probably be restricted from leaving Belarus or maybe imposed some other restrictions on, – Oleg Konovalov said.
On January 14, 2023, it became known that two echelons with Russian servicemen and military equipment arrived to Belarus. According to estimates of the railway workers, they brought about 200 Russian servicemen and 91 units of military vehicles to the country.
Two Russian echelons departed from Kantemirovka station in Voronezh region on January 8 and 9 of the current year. The first one consisted of 43 cars: one passenger (about 50 people) and 42 flat cars. It arrived to Slonim railway station in Grodno region on January, 11, at 00:15. It brought at least two Ural fuel trucks, two BTRs, six trucks (Ural and KamAZ), as well as one trailer (generator), one truck crane KamAZ, two MAZ fuel trucks and one UAZ Patriot. Some of the vehicles had “Z” symbols on them.
The following day, January, 12, at 08:00 a.m., another echelon of the RF Armed Forces arrived to Slonim from Kantemirovka; it consisted of 52 cars: three passenger (about 150 people) and 49 flat cars.
On January 16, 2023, the Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Belarus informed that a joint tactical flight exercise of aviation divisions of the Armed Forces of Belarus and Russia integrated into the Regional Grouping of Forces had started. A military formation of the Russian Aerospace Forces was participating in the event from the side of Russia.
Among other things, the following is planned to be trained during the exercise: aerial reconnaissance, joint air patrols along the border, air support of the grouping of forces, landing of a tactical airborne assault, cargo delivery and evacuation of the wounded.
“To provide the due order of conducting the exercise, all airfields and training grounds of the Air Forces and the Air-Defense Forces of the Republic of Belarus are utilized”, the ministry reported.
On January 17, 2023, the Ministry of Defense of Belarus informed that front-line supersonic fighter-bombers Su-34 of the Military Space Forces of Russia arrived to Belarus.
The ministry reported that Su-34 arrived to participate in the joint tactical flight exercise of divisions of the armed forces of the two countries making part of the aviation component of the Regional Grouping of Forces.
On January 19, 2023, the Ministry of Defense of Belarus informed that the aviation of Belarus and Russia started performing tasks for the intended purpose in the framework of the second stage of the joint tactical flight exercise of the armed forces.
From Machulishchy airfield, an AEW airplane A-50 carried out aerial reconnaissance tasks and control of multi-purpose fighter crew.
From Baranavich airfield, aviation crews conducted fighter air cover of the significant military and state objects.
From Lida airfield, aviation crews trained surmounting of enemy antiaircraft defenses and striking airfields and helicopter landing sites of a simulated enemy.
On January 20, 2023, the press service of the Ministry of Defense of Belarus informed that the joint tactical flight exercise of the Armed Forces of Belarus and Russia continued to be held in Belarus.
On January, 20, air crews carried out combat employment at the Ruzhansky training ground. During the exercise, the aviation trained suppression of the air defense means, destruction of command points, munitions depots and manpower locations of a simulated enemy. Strike groups of the attack and bombardment aviation were covered by fighter jets.
On January 20, 2023, the Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Belarus claimed that the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of Public Health were working on corrections of health requirements for people supposed to join military service and the list of health conditions making people considered unfit for military service. The corrections will affect all the military categories: conscripts, contract soldiers, reservists, students of military higher educational establishments.
– It was motivated by a number of reasons. First of all, by the great number of petitions arriving from citizens who consider that the health demands are too high and they do not allow young people make their dream to become a military man true, – claimed the Deputy Chief of Medical Unit of the Main Military Medical Clinical Centre of the Armed Forces of Belarus, Sviatlana Kashura.
On January 23, 2023, the press service of Aliaksandr Lukashenka informed that Aliaksandr Lukashenka had approved two decisions regarding protection of the state border by border gurads on the ground and by antiaircraft defense in the air.
“The main efforts of border protection this year will be focused on the Ukrainian direction, as well as at those sections where new external challenges and threats to border safety are likely to appear”, the communication said.
The State Border Committee called the following among the main tasks for the year 2023: “increase in combat readiness of the border service authorities by improving combat training and provision of the formations, as well as build-up of combat capabilities of maneuverable groups, development of the potential of the border committee in the sphere of detection of external threats to border safety, improvement of the state border infrastructure, including erection of new border control lines and their equipment with the most modern technical means at the most dangerous sections”.
On January 23, 2023, the Deputy Minister of the Internal Affairs, the commander of the Interior Ministry troops, Mikalai Karpiankou, told the newspaper “Spetsnaz” (Special Forces) that in the year 2023 had been announced a year of creation of special units and their professional development in the Interior Ministry troops.
Karpiankou told the edition about the motivation of those who got enlisted into the separate detachment of special purpose “Rys” created in December.
– Fighters that possess a spirit of the special forces, a steel rod, who passed the qualification tests for the right to wear a maroon beret – they love their Motherland, they are ready to defend her and they hate our enemies. Those who wishes us evil, those who want to come here and create atrocities, who destroy Soviet memorials, dig out graves, torture POWs… We hate them and are ready to fight, to destroy the enemies. And we do not need any other motivation. We have the desire to defend our Motherland, — Karpiankou said. According to him, the average age of the detachment’s members is 22-26.
He said that in the nearest 6 months another detachment was going to be formed that would work “bounded to the Southern direction, in Gomel region”. Also, Karpiankou said that “priceless specialists” were going to train the detachments.
– We have an outstanding training center. We have renovated it. Now, Russians, Kazakhstanis, Uzbeks envy us: there is no similar training centre anywhere. It will become a special purpose training center with a huge team of instructors with combat experience in Syria, Livia, Ukraine. Priceless specialists are going to pass their knowledge to the fighters of the separate detachment of special purpose “Rys”, work the detachment in, and then try to implement the results into all Interior Ministry troops, as well as among conscripted soldiers.
On January 23, 2023, it became known that district executive committees of Minsk regions had send to the subordinate structures and organizations the demand to provide lists of the employed and reserved citizens for the year 2022.
The demand to provide such information is explained by the necessity to “execute provisions of the legislation in the sphere of military registration and reservation of citizen liable for military duty according to the Instruction “On the procedure of reservation of citizens in reserve and working in state bodies, organizations independently from the forms of ownership, in the period of mobilization and during a wartime”.
They have to complete a special table with the number of employed and of those employed and liable for military duty with division into generals, officers, warrant officers, sergeants and soldiers, as well as by their civil specialties or managing statuses.
A separate division of the table should provide information about the number of the booked citizens liable for military duty, that is, of those who won’t be called to arms in the period of mobilization and in wartime. It is suggested that the reserved citizens should by divided not just into generals, officers, sergeaunts and soldiers, but also by their age.
On January 24, 2023, the Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Belarus communicated that it had started depreservation of armored vehicles from storage bases. It is noted, that it is done in order to conduct joint combat coordination activities of the Regional Grouping of Forces of Belarus and Russia.
“The division of the 11th Separate Mechanized Brigade started the procedure of removal of equipment from long-term storage”, the communication says.
On January 24, 2023, Aliaksandr Lukashenka signed the Ordinance № 19 “About military discharge and call-up for fixed-term military service, service in the reserves”, his press service informed.
The document provides for the call-up for fixed-term military service, service in the reserves, in February-March 2023, of male citizens of Belarus, who have turned 18 years old by the day of conscription and have no right to deferment, citizens of the conscription age who have lost a right to deferment, as well as of citizens from among students of the first year of the higher educational establishments of agricultural profile, having a right to deferment from conscription for the purpose of continuation of their education, but willing to serve in the military, to the service in the reserves.
On January 25, 2023, the Ministry of Defence of Belarus issued a warning about conduction of tactical flight exercise of Belarusian and Russian troops in the country; in the framework of the exercise aviation divisions performed tasks from all airfields of the Air Forces and the Air-Defense Forces.
In particular, the exercise was taking place at Ruzhansky training ground. During the exercise, the aviation trained suppression of the air defense means, destruction of command points, munitions depots and manpower locations of a simulated enemy. Also, anticipatory reconnaissance of alternate airfields and helicopter landing sites was conducted, where aviation divisions were deployed by air and ground echelons. The Ministry of Defense confirmed the take-off of the Russian airborne warning and control system, AWACS aircraft A-50 from Machulishchy airfield.
On January 25, 2023, the press service of the Ministry of Defense of Belarus informed that in the framework of combat coordination of the Regional Grouping of Forces of Belarus and Russia, the check of combat readiness of military units and divisions of the Belarusian army continued. The check was carried out by the orders of Aliaksandr Lukashenka.
“The activities are comprehensive and allow to determine abilities of commanders to manage the subordinate military units and divisions in different conditions and circumstances, as well as their readiness to perform tasks for the intended purpose within the prescribed time limits”, the communication says.
The general administration of the activities was entrusted to the Secretariat of the Security Council of Belarus.
On January 25, 2023, the Commander of the Air Force and Air Defense of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Belarus, Andrey Lukyanovich, reported that pilots of the Russian-Belarusian Regional Grouping of Forces were capable to provide combat at all altitude and speed ranges.
– The rehearsal showed that we are capable to provide combat at all altitude and speed ranges. I would like to note, that all the work is done in joint combat formations with our Russian colleagues. Everything is thoroughly analyzed; we make certain adjustments. However, even without studying objective control materials, I can say that I am very content with the work of the aviation, – Lukyanovich said.
On January 26, 2023, the press service of the Ministry of Defense of Belarus informed that Belarus and Russia were holding joint tactical flight exercise. They trained deployment of aircrafts to operational airfields, inspected air defense forces, and carried out airdrop missions.
“In the framework of the joint tactical flight exercise of the Armed Forces of Belarus and Russia, questions of redeployment of air echelons of Belarusian and Russian aviation divisions to operational airfields are being worked out, including those in the territory of Russia”, the communication said.
Also, air crews acted as control targets to check the air defense forces on duty. At Brestsky training ground, helicopter crews provided for performing tasks of paradrop and direct deployment of special operations forces units.
On January 26, 2023, head of the State Border Committee of the Republic of Belarus, Anatoly Lapo, on the regime’s TV channel Belarus-1, complained of the tense situation at the borders of Belarus with Latvia, Poland, Lithuania and Ukraine. He said that only a year or two ago the situation was peaceful and calm, and blamed the neighbors of having changed it.
– From our side, we are doing everything, but the adjacent side is getting back at us for the visa-free regime and other good undertakings, they want to bite us somehow, – Lapo complained.
According to what he says, during the last year, 463 cases of drones flying along the Belarusian border were recorded.
– They are conducting reconnaissance. Army aviation appeared near our borders, – Lapo revolted and noted that before the border guards had been informing the adjacent side about the forthcoming flights.
On January 31, 2023, the press service of the Ministry of Defense of Belarus informed that a joint HQ exercise of the Unified Command of the Regional Grouping of Forces was about to start.
In the course of the week, representatives of the military establishment of the two states were going to work out questions of joint planning of troops deployment on the basis of experience of recent years’ armed conflicts on the topic: “Decision making on deployment of the Regional Grouping of Forces in the interests of provision of military security of the Union State”.
“The complex of joint operational training activities is aimed to increase compatibility of military administration bodies of the two countries, and is another stage of preparation for the joint operational training “Union Shield-2023” that is going to be held in the Russian Federation in September, 2023”, the Ministry of Defense reported.