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.
Our House is hereby presenting the monitoring report of the mobilization of the Belarusian army in February, 2023. In total, we have recorded four public speeches of Aliaksandr Lukashenka on military matters, ten public appeals of the military leadership of the Republic of Belarus, seven facts of bringing new weapons systems into service and two facts of redeployment and training of Russian troops in Belarus.
On February 1, 2023, it was announced that Belarus military started independently exploiting Iskander operational-tactical missile systems.
An Iskander system consists of: a self-propelled launcher, a transporter-loader vehicle, a command and staff vehicle, a vehicle of regulations and maintenance, an information preparation unit and a life-support machine.
In a battle zone, Iskanders are able to destroy air and missile defense, command posts and communications nodes, airplanes and helicopters in airfields, objects of infrastructure, troop concentrations equipment and facilities, other operational-tactical guided missile systems, division artillery, ships.
On February 1, 2023, the Missile and Artillery Troops Commander, Colonel Ruslan Chekhov said that on the basis of the analysis of the experience of war in Ukraine, Belarus is modernizing the Soviet-model artillery systems as well as modifying the missile and artillery training system.
«The experience of the special military operation in Ukraine confirms that the Soviet-type artillery systems that are on duty in the corps – 2S1 Gvozdika, 2S3 Akatsiya, 2S5 Hyacinth, BM-21 Grad, show very good results on condition they are modernized. Such improvements are currently conducted at the defense industry enterprises of the Russian Federation and the Republic of Belarus», he said.
According to him, several directions of the missile and artillery development are being currently implemented. The first is development of high-precision weapons.
«We have received an Iskander operational-tactical missile system. At the present moment, enterprises of the state Military-Industrial Committee are working on fine-tuning of already modernized system of volley fire «Polonaise-M», said Ruslan Chekhov.
The second direction is the development of an automated control system of tactical level artillery units. The system elements in the corps are presented by a complex of command vehicles of fire control of artillery units «Centurion». The command system is constantly developing, research and development works are being conducted to design new models.
On February 2, 2023, it became known that at the end of January, Shevchenkivsk District Court in Kyiv sentenced a 22-year-old Belarusian national Maksym Ziaziulchyk to 10 years’ imprisonment for fighting against Ukraine as a mercenary in the so-called ‘Redut [or Redoubt] private military company’. The verdict published in the Register of Judgments made some details of the convict’s biography public. Among other things, the young man stated in court that before becoming a mercenary, he had served under a contract in the fifth separate special mission brigade of the Armed Forces of Belarus, and that he had learned of the ‘recruitment’ of mercenaries for Redut from the commander of his military unit.
«From the commander of his military unit he learned that the Redut private military company in the Russian Federation was recruiting mercenaries for a certain amount of money and decided to join the said PMC. In order to do that, he had traveled to Tambov in Russia where two representatives of the Redut private military company met him», says the verdict.
Then, the mercenaries were transported to Trigulay training ground situated in the homonymous village. There, Ziaziulchyk signed the relevant contract, with the amount offered – 3,400 US dollars a month. He was assigned to the division «Veterans» as a machine gunner.
After a three-day training at the training ground, on July 21, 2022, Ziaziulchyk was sent to Izium in Kharkiv oblast which was then under Russian occupation.
Ziaziulchyk was to defend a communication unit and assist the messenger team. On July 30, 2022, 9 days after his arrival to Ukraine, Ziaziulchyk was wounded in a battle near Krasnopillia in Donetsk region. On August 15, 2022, he was sent to Svatove in Luhansk region, and after that to the village of Korovii Yar near Liman in Donetsk region. On September 19, 2022, near Yatskivka, Limansky district, Ziaziulchyk was wounded once again, on his leg. As he said in court, he was inflicted the injury by his own commander. On the same day the Belarusian national was taken prisoner.
In court, Ziaziulchyk pleaded guilty and said he repented of his actions. He was found guilty under Part. 4 Art. 447 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine for taking part in military conflict in Ukraine as a mercenary and sentenced to 10 years of imprisonment.
On February 2, 2023, in Belarus, a joint tactical flight exercise of the Armed Forces of Belarus and Russia was completed.
«High consistency in the work of the headquaters was demonstrated, as well as confident joint actions of Belarusian and Russian pilots. The aviation component of the Regional Grouping of Forces completed a wide range of practical tasks», the Ministry of Defense informed.
The ministry underlined that the training «was aimed at provision of security of the Union State and was exclusively of the defense character».
To remind, the training had started on January 16, 2023. A military formation of the Russian Aerospace Forces was participating in the event from the side of Russia.
On February 3, 2023, the STV channel said that a patriotic action «My letter to a soldier» was being held in Belarus. Schoolchildren were suggested to write letters to the veterans of the Great Patriotic War and to the Belarusian military. At the same time, kids do not quite understand what they are supposed to do.
«On the paper there are words of gratitude to those who fought during the Great Patriotic War. Also, there are wishes to those who are defending our borders now. Children used a creative approach to the marathon. The messages have been done not only in a written form, the schoolchildren are also making drawings and postcards», the report says.
As it turned out, the action had been initiated by the Main Education Department under Minsk City Executive Committee. It is noted that the action was dedicated not only to the holiday of the 23 February, but also to the 85th anniversary of Minsk region.
Children aged 6-9 were told to draw a picture, schoolchildren aged 11-13 were suggested to write a letter, and teenagers from 14 to 17 – to shoot a video.
«Letters to the military men can contain congratulations, words of parting and gratitude for the service in the Armed Forces of the Republic of Belarus. As a result of the action, the materials will be sent to military units situated in the territory of Minsk region, as well as handed to the veterans of the Great Patriotic War», says the document.
The expenses on the action are financed by the regional and (or) local budgets.
On February 4, 2023, a joint resolution of the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of Public Health was published and entered into force, making amendments to the instruction of determining requirements to the state of health of citizens subject to military duty.
Now, Belarusians with the body mass over 100 kg are found unfit for military service in special operation forces of the Armed Forces. Before, the limit was 90 kg. Besides that, young people with obesity of the second degree and body mass index 37 kg/m² are recognized as fit for compulsory military service. Before that, they received the status of NGM (unfit for military service in peace time, partially fit for military service in war time).
Also, according to the new instruction, people with myopia of any eye in one of the meridians from 6.0 to 8.0 diopters, with hemorrhoids without prolapse of nodes, with mild form of bronchial asthma (or without attacks for over 5 years), with some forms of platypodia or foot deformity are also found fit for military service (for more details, read the graph «г» of the clarifications under subparagraph 13.5 of the instruction).
The amendments to the instruction also affected the conscripts with diseases of the endocrine system, eating disorders, diseases of the nervous system and heart, skin diseases, spinal diseases.
On February 5, 2023, the Commander of the Air Force and Air Defense of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Belarus, Andrey Lukyanovich, claimed that «a few weeks ago» our country received a new battery of the Tor-M2 air defense missile system. He also announced delivery of new helicopters and fighter planes «in the near future».
According to Lukyanovich, helicopters Mi-35M will be supplied to Belarus this year. He informed that four helicopters will have arrived to the Belarusian airfields by April, and in total the country is supposed to receive a detachment of such military hardware. The pilots have already trained to be able to operate it.
He added that purchase and delivery of Su-30SM fighter aircrafts had been planned. The radio-technical troops will receive low-altitude radar stations Rosa of Belarusian production, Vostok radar stations.
«Also, a delivery of a significant amount of aviation weapons has been planned. Our Armed Forces are combat-ready, combat-capable, and we are developing them professionally in order to ensure the safety of our country», Lukyanovich assured.
On February 6, 2023, an unexpected check of combat readiness started at the Military Academy. Today, on the decision of the Defense Minister of the Republic of Belarus, an unexpected check of combat readiness started at the educational institution «Military Academy of the Republic of Belarus», says the the communication of the press service of the Ministry of Defense of Belarus.
On February 7, 2023, it became known that the Academy of Public Administration under the Aegis of the President of the Republic of Belarus, had prepared a new issue of methodological materials for members of information-propaganda groups. For the month of February, all the ideologists of the country had to educate citizens about the peaceful Belarus resisting to a hostile half-fascist West, about wonderful state of the Belarusian army and wise strategical decisions of the commander-in-chief Lukashenka. The methodological guide was dedicated to the holiday of the 23 February and to the 105th anniversary of the Armed Forces of Belarus. Ideologists have to educate citizens that the Belarusian army started its history just from the year 1918 and draws on the roots of the USSR tradition only – the history of wars and battles of the times of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania is not mentioned at all. Also, the methodological guide underlines, that systematic and conceptual construction of the army in the independent Belarus was started only by Aliaksandr Lukashenka in 1994. It was he who «set the task of ensuring the military security of the country, defined the strategy and direction of reforms of the Armed Forces».
In the result of almost three decades of Lukashenka’s efforts, provision of military security has become «the most important factor of development of Belarus». This is what is put directly into the title of the methodological guide.
Description of enemies that are trying to set the Belarusian and the world stability on fire takes several paragraphs. The name of the enemies is «the collective West»: «The collective West is intensifying efforts to create a unipolar world, actively suppressing dissidence and promoting Russophobic views. The European security architecture is experiencing a serious systemic crisis. The lack of understanding on a wide range of crucial issues is evident».
On February 9, 2023, Aliaksandr Lukashenka called for strengthening the IT-company of the Military Academy by attracting the best students there. He said this during a meeting with Belarusian scientists.
«You were right to say that we have to drag the best people there», Lukashenka supported one of the participants of the event. – «People in uniform, they are diligent, loyal, reliable. No matter how they dandle you, drag you, [offer] lots of money and so on, you are working very steadily in that respect. We have to strengthen that company. The product must be modern and needful for the country».
Lukashenka instructed the Minister of Education, Andrei Ivants, «to delve into the work of that company, and to support it from the educational point of view, if needed».
On February 9, 2023, Aliaksandr Lukashenka made personnel appointments in the military block.
Colonel Vadim Romaniv was appointed head of communications of the Armed Forces – head of the General Staff Communications Department. Colonel Dmitry Bitny was appointed Deputy Commander of the Western Operations Command.
Also, Lukashenka relieved Major General Igor Korol of the post of First Deputy Chief of General Staff and dismissed him from military service to the reserve due to his age with the right to wear military uniforms and insignia.
Igor Korol had been appointed First Deputy Chief of General Staff on February 21, 2020. Before that, he had held the post of the Deputy Chief of General Staff for combat management.
On February 10, 2023, Chairman of the State Authority for Military Industry, Dmitry Pantus, at the Board office spoke about key directions of the development.
«Unmanned combat air vehicles, as well as means of combating them, are a key direction of our development. In autumn, we demonstrated our achievements in that direction to the head of the state. Today, we have concentrated our work on organizing a serial production of those articles», Pantus said.
According to him, two models have been supplied to the Armed Forces, and another two are going to be supplied this year. «We are finishing testing the product and are concentrating our work on the serial production», head of the office said.
Besides that, a modernized tank T-72B was presented at Obuz-Lesnovsky Training Range.
On February 11, 2023, military commissar of the Kletsk district, Yury Pihuleuski, said that those drafted to the reserve training are first of all people who had never served in the army before.
Pihuleuski considers that everyone «is obliged to feel like a soldier at least once in his life». According to him, those who had never served before, would take the military oath during their reserve training «which is highly responsible for a man, already not just a defender of his family, but also of his Fatherland».
On February 11, 2023, it became known that military town and a training ground are going to be built in Gomel region. That is stipulated in the state investment program for the year 2023. The decree approving it was signed by Lukashenka on February 7.
The construction of the military town should begin in 2023 and finish in 2027. For that purpose, 500 thousand BYN are going to be allocated from the budget in 2023, and 10 million and 40 million BYN correspondingly in 2024 and 2025 in «forcasted prices».
On May 27, 2022, the head of the International Military Cooperation Department of Belarus, Valery Revenko said, that «establishment of the Southern Operations Command implies not only creation of a military command body, but also of a number of military units and divisions according to the various branches of the Armed Forces».
On February 13, 2023, it became known that a question of opening another city cadet school in Minsk is being discussed. First Deputy Chairman of the Education Committee of the Minsk City Executive Committee, Lyudmila Borisenko, talked about it.
She said, that there is one cadet school functioning in Minsk now, it’s situated in Tsikotsky Str., 57. However, as it is so popular, there appeared a need to open a second one. According to Borisenko, the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Internal Affairs are going to work together on opening a new cadet school. It has not been decided yet in which building it is going to be open; however, it is not going to be a new one.
On February 16, 2023, the press service of the State Authority for Military Industry informed that Belarusian servicemen had successfully completed another stage of testing of the Sapphire multipurpose grenade launcher complex.
The grenade launcher complex is designed to combat lightly armored and unarmored targets, to destroy enemy personnel wearing means of personal body armor, staying in bunkers, earth-and-timber strongpoints, field type light shelters, urban and rural facilities.
According to the State Authority for Military Industry, Sapphire grenade launcher complex is equipped with a multipurpose war head that allows to use the item in closed premises.
On February 17, 2023, in the territory of Buda-Koshelevo district of Gomel region a training took place with the aim to check combat readiness of the state bodies to react and interact to acts of terrorism.
Uniformed agencies of the country participated in the activities of the training. The scenario of the exercise provided for the use of military equipment and traffic limitation.
On February 20, 2023, Aliaksandr Lukashenka held a Security Council meeting. One of the documents submitted for consideration by the Security Council, was the draft law «On People’s Militia».
Lukashenka explained that an effective national defense system had been built in Belarus, and the basis of it is the army. Fight with crime, defense of public order and public security are the sphere of interest of the Ministry of Internal Affairs both in peace and in war time. In order to ensure functioning of the state bodies, organizations, economic entities, infrastructure of Belarus in war time, territorial troops have been created.
«Yet, the situation is not simple. I have already said multiple times: every man (and not only man) should at least know how to handle weapons. At least, to protect his family, his house, his native corner of land in case of necessity and, if needed, his country, as without it there will be no corner, no house, nothing else. Many understand that», Lukashenka underlined.
On February 20, 2023, the Defense Minister, Viktor Khrenin, said that the main task of the people’s militia will be defense of their local area and law enforcement together with the police. The draft law «On People’s Militia» was elaborated by the Ministry of Defence together with the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
The draft law provides that the composition, number and tasks of the people’s militia will be defined by local authorities.
«However, the main task of the people’s militia remains, which is to defend first of all their own homes, property and to carry out tasks to ensure law and order together with the police», the Defense Minister said.
According to the law, volunteers that join the people’s militia, will be placed at their place of residence and carry out their work tasks. Their employer will have the right to release those citizens from work with the preservation of their wages and jobs.
On February 21, 2023, the head of the International Military Cooperation Department of Belarus, Valery Revenko, held a briefing for attaches on the issues of defense of foreign states. 18 representatives of other countries participated in the event.
The representative of the Ministry of Defense stated that the situation around Belarus is estimated by the Belarusian regime as«crisis, implying direct threats to military security».
«Currently, in Europe, over 60 thousand USA troops are deployed, equipped with modern strike weapons, as well as about 34 thousand NATO troops, in the framework of the so-called strengthening of the Eastern flank of the alliance and operations and missions carried out in Eastern Europe; over 22 thousand of them are deployed directly in Poland and Baltic countries», Revenko claimed, underlining that those forces «in the shortes time can be formed into strike groups of troops for their usage in the Belarusian direction».
He also spoke about the war in Ukraine and mentioned that «in the immediate vicinity of the Belarusian-Ukrainian part of the state border, a signigicant grouping of the Ukrainian army is situated».
On February 21, 2023, the head of the International Military Cooperation Department of Belarus, Valery Revenko, spoke about the forthcoming military exercise «Shield of the Union».
According to him, «close cooperation with the Russian Federation at the strategical level will be continued in the current year as well». Over 150 joint activities are planned to be held.
«Among central activities of operational and combat training, a joint operational training of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Belarus and the Russian Federation «Shield of the Union – 2023» is going to be held in the territory of Russia from September 22 to 26», Revenko added.
On February 21, 2023, the Armed Forces of Lithuania said they did not see a threat in the movement of military hardwear across Belarus. That is how the press service reacted to the information that in the night of February 20 to 21, a column of military hardware moved towards the Lithuanian border in Belarus.
In the night of February 20 to 21, in Belarus, four columns of military hardware moved towards the border with Lithuania. They consisted of Ural and KamAZ military trucks, UAZ off-road vehicles, fuel trucks, infantry fighting vehicles.
In the morning of February 21, 2023, the press service of the Ministry of Defense informed that on Tuesday, one military unit of a mechanized formation, reinforced with air-defense units, «advanced to the designated area».
«The military personnel have a number of training and combat tasks to perform, including organization of protection and defense of the region, conducting its engineering equipment and implementing a set of measures to organize logistic and technical support», the Ministry of Defense said without specifying where the column was moving.
On February 22, 2023, it became known that Belarusian border guards were conducting planned exercise. The ministry informed that the exercise had started as long ago as February 17, 2023, and were going to be held for two other weeks.
The aim of the exercise was to check readiness of the units to perform practical actions of deployment and operation of command posts outside the places of permanent deployment. The main tasks were improvement of combat and mobilization readiness of territorial bodies of the border service, increase in the level of readiness of the operational command to manage regular and attached units in different conditions.
On February 22, 2023, the Defense Minister of Belarus, Viktor Khrenin, claimed that Belarusians want peace, and the military do everything to provide it.
According to the minister, Belarusian servicemen guarded sections of the state border, conducted combat coordination of the regional grouping, carried out combat duty on the ground and in the air. «The Armed Forces of Belarus perform all those tasks with the only aim: so that no thought would arise to come with war to our land». «We raise our children, build cities, live a free, independent, peaceful life, help those who need help. And we do it without asking anything in return», Khrenin summerized.
On February 23, 2023, the press service of the Ministry of Defense published a video of «girls» congratulating Vitebsk paratroopers on the occasion of the Defender of the Fatherland Day.
In the video, several military men with roses in their hands are listening to «fiery speeches» of the girls. The video ends with a chorus of congratulations of all the five girls with red roses in their hands.
On February 24, 2023, the press service of the Ministry of Defense of Belarus informed that in the framework of military readiness activities one of the missile units was advancing to a designated area.
«The military personnel has to work out a range of activities to equip the area of launching positions and prepare the military hardware to combat use», the communication says.
On February 25, 2023, the Chariman of the Security Council, Alexander Volfovich, informed that participants of the people’s militia will possess fire arms and keep them at home. That is provided by the draft law «On People’s Militia» discussed with the participation of Lukashenka.
The people’s militia is going to be organized by the local authorities and led by units of internal affairs. In case of martial law, the tasks of the militia will be to defend order, fight banditism and marauding, sabotage and reconnaissance groups.
«They will be given fire arms. The weapons will be kept on them. They will stay and eat at home. It is a possibility to legitimize desires of citizens to secure their homes, the place where they live, to provide order for their families, their children on the ground», Volfovich said.
He added that people will serve in the people’s militia on voluntary basis, without being dismissed from their jobs. On the decision of their employer, they are going to be released from work for the time of preforming their duties in the militia squads. At the same time, they are going to keep the salary.
At the same time, service in the people’s militia does not exempt a citizen from military service: if needed, those who are fit can be subject to mobilization to the army.
On February 26, 2023, it became known that the military echelon 962 departed from Slonim to Matveyev Kurgan in Rostov region in Russia. It consisted of 51 cars with military personnel and hardware.
Five of them were passenger cars with military personnel of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation that had completed training in Belarus. Another 43 flat cars carried military hardware: command-staff vehicles R-149BMR «Couch-B» and R-149MA1, as well as tilted Ural trucks and fuel trucks of the same brand, and besides that, an APE-5 mobile command post. Three other covered cars carried amunition.
On February 26, 2023, it became known that several explosions happened in Machulishchy airfield. According to messages in local chats, loud sounds were heard around 8.00 – 9.40 a.m. Some people say they heard a strong exploision at night.
After that, as the dwellers of the nearby localities in the local Telegram chats said, a large accumulation of the military was seen near the military airfield. According one user, the Investigation Committee and an ambulance came to the airfield, and «military and machine gunners were standing there». In another chat, people wrote that Sportivnaya street was «all crammed with military vehicles with soldiers in armor», and «recently seven military vehicles with machine gunners have moved in that direction».
On February 26, 2023, a representative of the General Staff of the Armed Forces, Artem Butorin, said that organizations calling to unleash civil war in the country, as well as traitors, betrayers and and saboteurs will be classified as threats to the national safety of Belarus.
«Such subjects appeared as traitors, betrayers and saboteurs, whose actions or inaction inflict direct damage to the military security of the Republic of Belarus. Well, speaking of the external sources of threats, then together with the traditionally hostile to us states and military and political blocks, we distinguish also non-governmental actors, including international terrorist organizations», he summarized.
On February 27, 2023, Aliaksandr Lukashenka held a meeting to discuss issues of financing the purchase of military purpose products.
«The dynamics of military threats to the Republic of Belarus makes us keep a pulse of the domestic military-industrial production. The topic of the today’s meeting is issues of financing the purchase of military purpose products for the needs of the uniformed agencies. I want to note, that despite unprecedented sanctions pressure, we produce enough weapons and military equipment for the needs of the Belarusian army», Lukashenka said.
He underlined that everything the army needs, Belarus «simply gets» from Russia.
On February 27, 2023, the Chairman of the State Authority for Military Industry, Dmitry Pantus, after the meeting with Aliaksandr Lukashenka on the issues of financing the purchase of military purpose products claimed that enterprises of the military-industrial complex of Belarus are working on organization of serial production of unmanned drones.
«As of today, our work is concentrated on organizing a serial production of this type of drones. And of course, certain models undergo certain modifications and are being modernized», the head of the MIC said.
According to him, specific types of UAVs were determined together with the Ministry of Defense and with military formations, and they are going to be produced in Belarus and supplied to the domestic uniformed agencies.
On February 28, 2023, in Belarus, a formal training started with participants of territorial defense forces.
«During four days, theoretical and practical activities with the officers of executive committees and military conscription and enlistment offices, administrations of offices receiving mobilization resources will be held in all administrative districts; availability and storage conditions of existing stocks will be checked», the Ministry of Defense specified.
The ministry underlined that huge attention would be paid to the training of individuals subject to military service during the held activities: a one-day reserve training is supposed to provide basics and procedure of forming territorial defense troops.