On September 21, 2022, Vladimir Putin made a statement that Russia had declared a partial mobilization of its population. Belarus did not formally join the war against Ukraine, although it did provide its territory to the Russian aggressors for attacking Ukraine. However, as of now, Belarusian forces have not crossed the border.
At the same time, the chronology of events shows an increased preparation of the Belarusian military. We present to you the monitoring of activities of the Belarusian army for April 2023.
In total, in April, we recorded 16 public statements from the military leadership of Belarus, two instances of testing or adoption of new weaponry, as well as eight cases of redeployment and exercises involving either Belarusian military (other Belarussian security structures) or Russian forces in Belarus.
The distinctive feature of this monitoring is that, for the first time, it documented a large number of elements of nuclear blackmail by Belarusian military and politicians. These are public statements about the deployment of Russian nuclear weapons in Belarus, as well as reports on the reactivation of nuclear facilities and the training of Belarusian military specialists who will work with nuclear weapons. In total, we counted eight such elements of nuclear blackmail throughout April.
On April 1, 2023, trials of the multiple launch rocket system (MLRS) ‘Shkval’ were conducted at the Osipovichsky firing range. The notable feature of the trials was the comprehensive use of the MLRS with unmanned aerial vehicles, whose task was reconnaissance and target coordinate transmission. “During the trials, ‘Shkval’ confirmed all the declared characteristics,” the State Military Industrial Committee (SMIC) reported
On April 2, 2023, the Russian Ambassador to Belarus, Boris Gryzlov, stated on television that Russian nuclear weapons would be deployed in Belarus, despite all the uproar that had arisen in Europe and the United States.
“Russia and Belarus are part of the territory of the Union State, which is legally established, unlike the territories of other countries where the United States deploys its nuclear weapons. They are just puppets of the US, whereas we have a unified space,” Gryzlov stated. According to him, tactical nuclear weapons on the territory of Belarus “will be brought closer to the western borders of the Union State”.
On April 3, 2023, the press secretary of Putin, Dmitry Peskov, when asked to clarify who would control the tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus, referred to the statements made by Vladimir Putin in an interview with journalist Pavel Zarubin.
In an interview with Pavel Zarubin on March 25th, Vladimir Putin said that Moscow and Minsk had agreed to deploy tactical nuclear weapons on the territory of Belarus, allegedly in response to ‘long-standing requests’ by Alexander Lukashenko. According to Putin, the construction of a special storage facility for these weapons will be completed by July 1, 2023. He added that Russia was not transferring tactical nuclear weapons to Belarus, but only deploying them, which allows to comply with the agreements on non-proliferation of nuclear weapons.
However, on March 31, during the address to the nation and parliament, Alexander Lukashenko, when asked about how the management of the tactical nuclear arsenal planned to be deployed in Belarus would be organized and whether the country’s opinion would be taken into at the decisive moment, stated: “Everything will be done according to the law and regulations. There is no uncontrolled weaponry in Belarus and cannot be. Therefore, we will be the ones managing everything that is present in Belarus.”
On April 3, 2023, at the instruction of Alexander Lukashenko, a readiness check of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Belarus was initiated. The overall management of the check was entrusted to the Secretariat of the Security Council of Belarus.
“The activities are comprehensive in nature and will allow determining the ability of commanders to manage subordinate military units and formations when they are brought to the highest degree of combat readiness, as well as the readiness of military units to fulfill their designated tasks within the established deadlines,” the statement from the Belarussian Defense Ministry said. “Please note that during the inspection the movement of military equipment is planned and civilian traffic on public roads and certain areas of the terrain may be temporarily restricted.”
On April 3, 2023, the Secretary of the Security Council of Belarus, Alexander Volfovich, announced that during the next combat readiness inspection of another Armed Forces’ unit, military officials would address various aspects, including conscription and the transition from peacetime to wartime basis. According to the Secretary of the Security Council, the inspection will be of a “strictly planned nature” and will be conducted under Lukashenko’s directive.
“The inspection will include a full range of activities related to transitioning the unit from peacetime to wartime, conscription of military personnel, delivery of weapons, and the unit’s deployment to training grounds for carrying out mission-specific tasks,” shared Volfovich. He emphasized that the inspection “will be of a prolonged nature and will cover various training grounds and areas of terrain.”
On April 4, 2023, a joint staff training exercise of the Air Force and Air Defense Forces began in Belarus. It was conducted from April 4 to April 6 under the command of Colonel Andrey Lukyanovich, the commander of the Air Force and Air Defense Forces.
“The training exercise is aimed at practicing the planning of the Air Force and Air Defense Forces’ operations within the activities of the regional troop (force) grouping,” the Belarussian Defense Ministry said in its statement. They also noted that the training was being conducted in accordance with the combat training plan of the Air Force and Air Defense Forces.
On April 4, 2023, the press service of the Belarusian Ministry of Defense reported that the crews of the Iskander-M operational-tactical missile system from the Missile Troops of the Belarusian Armed Forces had been sent to the Russian Federation for their practical training.
The Belarusian military have been sent to one of the Russian training ranges where they will undergo a full cycle of training, improve practical skills in preparing the missile system for use, and train in its deployment. Combat training launches will also be conducted. “Additionally, the personnel of the crews will have to study in detail the maintenance and use of tactical nuclear warheads of the Iskander-M missile system,” the Defence Ministry said in its statement.
On April 5, 2023, one of the Belarusian independent media outlets reported on how the latest army readiness inspection had actually been organized. According to the publication, there was not enough time to distribute summonses in advance through the draft boards, so reservists were enlisted to distribute the summonses. It was also revealed that participants for the inspection had been recruited in an emergency order as well.
According to one of the sources interviewed by the edition, in the evening of April 3, summonses to the military registration and enlistment office began to be distributed massively in Brest. If it wasn’t possible to deliver them in person, they were brought to the workplace. His son, Alexey, also received a summons. The reader emphasized that nobody had informed him that his son would be taken to the military unit. On the contrary, during the delivery of the summons, he was assured that it would be necessary only to clarify the information, and it would only take half an hour.
Quote from the story: “Yesterday, on April 4, my son went to work, and there he was handed a summons. They immediately told him to appear at the Olympic Reserve Center for Athletics at 9 a.m. While my son was in contact, he told me that around 400 people were loaded onto buses with him and sent somewhere towards Grodno. People had nothing with them, no money, no personal hygiene items, and many of them had work and personal matters to attend to. My son informed the employees of the military enlistment office that he was involved in production and was needed at his workplace, and his director had even confirmed this. However, nobody listened. At about 3 p.m. he managed to report that he was being taken towards Pruzhany – and the phones became out of reach. The director of the enterprise was shocked by such a turn of events, as there was no way to manage without that employee. But nobody even paid attention to it. Everyone was treated the same. Everyone was herded onto the bus. It’s utter madness. Couldn’t they handle it in a humane way, give people time to gather and resolve work-related matters, and so forth? He didn’t have anything with him, he simply came to work.”
On April 5, 2023, during a briefing, Maria Zakharova, the official representative of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, was asked if Russia planned to deploy strategic nuclear weapons in Belarus. In response, she advised to refer to previous statements made by Vladimir Putin.
Zakharova also added that Russia and Belarus were “building a unified defense space within the framework of the Union State”. “And we have the right to address any issues related to ensuring national security that arise due to the escalation of external threats in a way that best serves our interests. Since November 2021, as you know, the updated military doctrine of our integration alliance with Minsk has been in effect, according to which our military and military-technical cooperation is progressively expanding. When I say ‘our,’ you understand that I’m referring to our joint efforts. Any possible further steps will be strictly proportionate to the evolution of the military-strategic situation,” she said.
On April 6, 2023, the State Secretary of the Belarusian Security Council, Alexander Volfovich, publicly commented on the deployment of Russian nuclear weapons in Belarus. Responding to a question about the potential timeline for the delivery of nuclear warheads to Belarus, he said, “When our leaders, the Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Federation and the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Belarus, make such a decision. The decision is up to them.”
He further emphasized that the quantity of nuclear weapons in Belarus would not be the primary concern; the most important aspect would be “the legal status and appropriate use of such weapons”.“And we know how to use them. And whether there will be a need to use them… I think it won’t come to that. After all, warheads and other ammunition of tactical or strategic nuclear weapons are primarily intended for deterrence and ensuring the security of both Russia and Belarus,” said Volfovich.
On April 6, 2023, it became known that Belarus and Russia had decided to extend certain agreements in the military sphere. Vladimir Putin made this statement at the Kremlin during the session of the Supreme State Council of the Union State.
Putin emphasized that Russia and Belarus would continue to enhance their cooperation in the defense and security sphere and expand their collaboration in the military-technical field. He stated, “This undoubtedly corresponds to the fundamental interests of our countries and peoples. Alexander Grigorievich raised the question of extending some of our previous agreements. I fully support this and, from my side, I request our Security Council to work out everything that was set as a priority task in this area today.”
On April 6, 2023, the Chief of the Main Directorate for the Combat Training of the Belarussian Armed Forces, Major General Alexander Bas, revealed in an interview that military personnel from the regional troop grouping (RTG) were preparing approximately 500 Belarusian instructors. And, tellingly, the training process itself has been developed taking into account the experience of Russian armed aggression against Ukraine.
“All the instructors have the highest level of necessary practical skills and knowledge. This is confirmed by both Russian colleagues and the results of control sessions. Excellent living conditions have been created for the servicemen. The training process itself is based on the experience of conducting combat operations during special operation in Ukraine. We adapt it and apply it for training the personnel of the regional troop grouping,” Alexander Bas said.
According to the official, the Belarusian side thoroughly analysed the forms and methods of using troops during the Russian aggression against Ukraine, and based on this experience changes were made to the training programmes of the units.
On April 6, 2023, it became known that the previous night an echelon with at least 20 units of equipment from the Armed Forces of Belarus arrived at the Goodogai railway station (9 km from the border with Lithuania). Among the equipment in the echelon, there were no fewer than 10-15 T-72B/B3 tanks, as well as APCs, BMP’s, and MT-LB vehicles. There are grounds to believe that an echelon with equipment from the 120th Brigade of the Belarusian Armed Forces (Uruchye, Minsk – a place of deployment) was transferred to Goodogai. The formation of the echelon took place throughout the day on April 5 at the Ozerishche station, from where the echelon departed at around 10 p.m. on the same day.
On April 8, 2023, reports emerged that preparations had begun for the construction of two new border checkpoints in the Homiel Region. Both of them are located on the border with Ukraine, near the Aleksandrovka-Vilcha border crossing, which became one of the entry points through which Russian forces invaded Ukraine from Belarus on February 24, 2022.
The screenshots of the procurement tasks related to the construction of new complexes of frontier posts have been published. The customer is interested in gathering information on prices and rates in the field of construction and building materials, as well as subsequent processing of these data.
According to the documents, the construction of one of the border guard posts is planned in the agrotown of Borovoe in Lelchitsky district, and the second one in Narovlya. The estimated cost of the work is 7,019 rubles for the facility in Lelchitsky district and 8,606 rubles for the one in Narovlya. The construction is planned to be completed in February and April 2024.
On April 8, 2023, Dmitry Krutoy, the Ambassador of Belarus to Russia, commented on the results of Lukashenko’s visit to Putin and the session of the Supreme State Council of the Union State in an interview with state TV. He stated that Belarusian aviation enterprises were actively increasing Russian orders. According to him, the authorities have set a task to load aviation enterprises until 2030.
“At present, the Su-25 (a military aircraft of Soviet design) is being worked on. The relevant documentation is currently being studied and transferred by the Russian side. But the Prime Minister has set an even tougher task: to start from the assembly of aircraft engines and proceed to the final assembly of complete aircraft. This is, of course, a super task, a maximum task,” Krutoy said.
On April 9, 2023, one of the Belarusian independent media outlets provided justifications from the Belarusian Ministry of Defense regarding reports that in some regions of the Brest region, military conscripts had been taken to training camps in an emergency order and without prior mandatory notification.
The Telegram channel of the Belarusian Defense Ministry, citing the Deputy Commander for Rear Services – Chief of Rear Services of the 11th Separate Guards Mechanized Brigade of the Western Operational Command, Demian Yashchuk, reported that “the conscripts had been equipped.” The 11th Separate Guards Mechanized Brigade is based in Slonim.
“Upon arrival, they were provided with items of clothing of the first category, thermal insulation mats, sleeping bags,” said Demian Yashchuk. “The conscripts are accommodated in barracks, a gymnasium, an educational building, and a club. They are provided meals at two canteens of RUP TPU under the Ministry of Defense. When moving to training grounds and areas, the meals for the conscripts will be organized using the technical means of the brigade’s food service. Accommodation is in tented camps using thermal insulation mats and sleeping bags.”
On April 9, 2023, Belarusian military officials stated that they were ready to combat HIMARS and drones. The information was conveyed in an interview by Dmitry Panin, the Chief of Staff of the Air Defense Forces and Anti-Aircraft Defense Forces of Belarus. He believes that HIMARS has been “overhyped” in its publicity.
“Suffice it to say that HIMARS may be overly hyped,” Dmitry Panin noted. “It is a typical ballistic target with its own peculiarities. The integrated training equipment of anti-aircraft missile systems and complexes allows for practicing the actions of crews against this type of target. Moreover, we have repeatedly performed tasks on targets simulating HIMARS operations at the Ashuluk polygon. In this case, shall we say, there is nothing particularly new for us.”
On April 10, 2023, the Belarussian Ministry of Defense reported that a training exercise had been conducted in the Belarusian army involving units of the Air Force. “The main element was the dispersion of combat aviation to alternate airfields. The exercise was planned but included unexpected scenarios,” the statement said.
On April 10, 2023, information emerged that a conscript soldier from the 38th Brest Separate Guards Air Assault Brigade had shot himself in Brest in March. The incident occurred while the 20-year-old soldier was on duty.
“He graduated from school a couple of years ago. He has already served for at least six months, so he was supposed to be demobilized either in the spring or in the fall,” a source interviewed by the media outlet said. “Everything happened recently, maybe in mid-March. They said there had been a gunshot to the forehead. Everyone is surprised that it happened this way because the boy didn’t have any major problems at home at that time. That’s what those who interacted with him say. He had a painful breakup with a girl once. But that happened a long time ago, gradually he moved on, he went through it all and moved forward.”
According to the interviewee, the funeral of the deceased conscript went quietly, and he was buried in such a way that many in his surroundings were unaware of what had happened.
On April 10, 2023, Alexander Volfovich, the State Secretary of the Belarussian Security Council, stated during a meeting with the heads of higher education institutions that he considered it expedient to return to the practice of conscripting students into the army.
“I would like to ask some questions to the rectors, of course, I won’t expect an immediate response from them. I will give them time to reflect on it and submit their thoughts and suggestions to the State Secretariat of the Security Council. How to educate students in military departments, how do they generally view and approach the issue of conscripting students into the armed forces, as it was once done in the Soviet Union,” said Volfovich.
On April 11, 2023, Leonid Kasinski, the Assistant to the Minister of Defense for Ideological Work and Chief of the Main Ideological Department, announced that the servicemen who had been called up from the reserves to participate in the sudden combat readiness inspection of the Armed Forces would be back home by May 9th.
“In addition, we continue to carry out tasks related to strengthening sections of the Belarusian state border in the south and preparing units of the Regional Grouping,” said Kasinski. He also emphasized that military conscripts who had been called up from the reserves were practically involved in all activities.
On April 12, 2023, it was announced that since March 20, the leadership of both the Belarusian Ministry of Defense and the State Secretariat of the Belarusian Security Council had been inspecting the progress of military exercises by the territorial defense forces in the Minsk region. In particular, an inspection is currently underway in the Borisov district (Minsk region) to assess the readiness level of the territorial defense forces in the Minsk region. This inspection is being conducted under the supervision of Viktor Gulevich, the Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces and the Deputy Minister of Defense.
The progress of the exercises is being inspected by Alexander Volfovich, the State Secretary of the Security Council, Viktor Khrenin, the Minister of Defense, and Alexander Turchin, the Chairman of the Regional Executive Committee. The aforementioned officials conducted a visit to the “Belino” sanatorium in the Borisov district. During their visit, they personally inspected the accommodation facilities of the territorial forces and gained a comprehensive understanding of the soldiers’ equipment and living conditions.
On April 12, 2023, the Secretary of the Security Council, Alexander Volfovich, announced that a mechanized brigade would conduct a large-scale military exercise in the Slonim district. Volfovich reminded that currently, some elements of the military security systems are being inspected. In particular, a mechanized brigade, one of the units of the Western Operational Command in the Slonim district, was recently brought to combat readiness.
“They are working on the issues of transitioning the mechanized unit from peacetime to wartime in full scale, including mobilization, supply of material resources, removal of all military equipment from storage, and conducting a comprehensive combat coordination. At the final stage, a brigade-level tactical exercise will be conducted,” said Volfovich.
On April 12, 2023, the Secretary of the Security Council, Alexander Volfovich, announced that the people’s militias in Belarus would be responsible for tasks related to the introduction of martial law, as well as combating sabotage and reconnaissance groups.
The head of the Security Council stated that the people’s militia would be formed from volunteers, “residents of a particular locality, who will assist local law enforcement agencies, primarily district police officers”. According to Volfovich, it is expected that they will perform tasks related to ensuring security. “Additionally, they will address tasks related to the imposing of martial law and combating sabotage and reconnaissance groups within the territory of a particular area,” official emphasized.
On April 14, 2023, the press service of the Belarussian Ministry of Defense announced the completion of the reception of mobilization resources in Belarus. The defense agency reminded that a readiness check of the Armed Forces had been conducted in the country since April 3. Its purpose was to determine the ability of the Belarusian army to carry out its designated tasks “in rapidly changing circumstances”.
“Currently, one of the units of the Western Operational Command is being brought to a state of readiness to carry out its designated tasks. The entire range of measures for transitioning the mechanized unit from peacetime to wartime is being rehearsed. The reception of mobilization resources has been completed. The unit’s strength has been brought up to six thousand personnel. Weapons, military, and special equipment have been taken out of storage,” the Ministry of Defense noted.
Certain units have conducted marches to their designated areas, established rear infrastructure, prepared weapons and military equipment for the execution of assigned tasks, and commenced activities for combat cohesion, including combat training exercises. In the final stage of the assessment, the personnel of the unit will participate in a brigade-level tactical exercise.
On April 14, 2023, the Minister of Defense, Viktor Khrenin, stated that even without nuclear weapons, Belarus was a target for NATO. Khrenin commented on statements suggesting that Belarus could become a target for NATO after the deployment of tactical nuclear weapons.
“There is no need to harbor illusions that we will become a target now. Since the days of the Belarusian Military District, we have been a target for NATO. Constant reconnaissance has been conducted against us. It has just become more intensified now because certain anxious politicians, for some reason, do not want to sit down at the negotiating table,” Viktor Khrenin said.
On April 14, 2023, Defence Minister Viktor Khrenin said at the Brest polygon that Belarus would have strategic nuclear weapons “if necessary”. “We have prepared equipment – aircraft capable of carrying nuclear warheads. We have trained pilots. We have received the most advanced ‘Iskander’ complex, which can use missiles with nuclear warheads,” Viktor Khrenin reminded.
He added that the preparation of the Belarusian unit, which will return from training in Russia, is nearing completion. “If necessary, we will also have strategic nuclear weapons,” the head of the Belarusian Defence Ministry said. Viktor Khrenin assured that Belarus was already preparing its existing sites for strategic weapons.
On April 14, 2023, the press service of the Belarussian Defense Ministry reported that the training сenter of the Russian Military Space Forces had completed additional preparation for Belarusian pilots of Su-25 attack aircraft. Belarusian pilots and engineering staff have mastered the program of operation and combat use of Su-25 attack aircraft.
“The training included both theoretical courses and practical exercises under the guidance of experienced Russian instructors, which allowed not only to improve the practical skills of the flight crew but also to master new methods of using modern aviation weapons, including special munitions,” the Ministry of Defense stated.
On April 14, 2023, Defense Minister Viktor Khrenin, at one of the military training grounds in the Brest region, announced that large-scale combat readiness inspections would also take place in other units of the country’s Armed Forces. The head of the defense department emphasized that the current readiness check is not the last one.
“At a certain point in time, we will definitely conduct such checks for all units basing on the experience of the first unit. We know, the first one always has it harder. Let’s see how they handle the task, and we will look at other units taking into account their experience,” Viktor Khrenin stated.
According to the Minister of Defense, the reserve servicemen who were called upon to participate in the assessment “came with understanding”. “People understand that this is not someone’s whim: to break people away from their work and their comfort zone. This event is aimed at preparing for the defense of our country,” Khrenin said.
On April 17, 2023, a draft law on the people’s militia was submitted to the Belarusian parliament. Earlier, Defence Minister Viktor Khrenin said that the draft law on the people’s militia had been developed by the Defence Ministry jointly with the Ministry of internal Affairs
“The draft law ‘On People’s Militia’ is very relevant. In the people’s militia, both those of our people who are still on military registration and those who have already been discharged can prove themselves worthy. Even those who, for various reasons, did not serve in the army but are hunters and have skills in handling weapons. However, the most important thing here is a person’s civic stance, one’s readiness to serve the Motherland, protect one’s home and family. And specific knowledge can be acquired during training,” a deputy Pavel Mikhalyuk emphasized.
On April 17, 2023, the Ministry of Defense announced that as part of the spring draft, approximately 40,000 young Belarusians would be summoned to the military enlistment offices, and of those conscripts, about 10,000 would be sent to the army. The Ministry of Defense stated that the conscription activities were carried out “in accordance with the legislation, without any significant changes”.
The spring conscription campaign in Belarus will begin on April 26th. On the very first day, approximately 1,000 conscripts will be sent to the army, where they will serve in the Special Operations Forces, at the 72nd Joint Training Centre for Warrant Officers and Junior Specialists, as well as at the Minsk military commandant office.
On April 18, 2023, it was announced that the Ministry of Defense continued to assess the potential collaboration between territorial defense and the people’s militia. This time, the exercises will take place in the Grodno region.
From April 18th to April 21st, under the guidance of the Deputy Chairman of the Regional Executive Committee, a command and staff exercise with territorial defense forces will be conducted in Novogrudok and Korelichsky districts. The exercise will also involve a unit of the people’s militia formed in the Koshelovo Village Council of the Novogrudok district.
“During the exercise, the territorial troops, in cooperation with the internal affairs bodies and emergency response units, will practice issues related to safeguarding vital infrastructure and maintaining public order under conditions of martial law, as well as countering sabotage and reconnaissance groups or illegal armed formations,” the Ministry of Defense stated.
The military commissar warned conscripts about the responsibility for failure to appear in response to the summons.
On April 21, 2023, Gomel military commissar Andrey Krivonosov addressed draft evaders through an online video message. The military commissar warned conscripts about the consequences of failing to appear for the draft board and threatened that his staff would find each individual and “put everybody into military service”
“I warn that failure to appear at the military enlistment office entails administrative responsibility. Evading conscription shall give rise to the corresponding criminal responsibility, including imprisonment. Therefore, I suggest to draft evaders not to tempt fate, but to come to the military enlistment offices, and fulfill their military duty. I warn that the staff of the military enlistment office will find everyone, carry out conscription measures, and put everybody into military service, because the Armed Forces transform conscripts into real men,” Krivonosov said.
On April 22, 2023, it became known that the crews of the operational-tactical missile system Iskander-M of the Missile Forces of the Belarusian Armed Forces completed their practical training in Russia, including handling nuclear ammunition.
“The crews of the operational-tactical missile complex ‘Iskander-M’ from the missile troops of the Belarussian Armed Forces have completed their practical training in the Russian Federation. Today, Belarusian servicemen landed at Machulishchy airfield,” the statement said. “The military personnel have undergone a full training cycle at one of the Russian training grounds. In addition, the personnel of the units have thoroughly studied the issues of maintenance and use of tactical nuclear warheads of the ‘Iskander-M’ missile complex.”
On April 23, 2023, the press service of the Ministry of Defense of Belarus announced that the Belarusian military had begun to improve the facilities where strategic nuclear weapons, specifically the “Topol” missile complexes, had been previously located.
According to the agency’s information, work is currently underway to improve the territory after the winter period. Measures are also being taken to maintain the infrastructure in proper condition.
On April 26, 2023, the spring conscription campaign started in Belarus. From that day on, young men began to be sent for compulsory military service. On the very first day, approximately 1,000 conscripts were sent to the army, where they will serve in the Special Operations Forces, the 72nd Joint Training Centre for Warrant Officers and Junior Specialists, and the Minsk military commandant office.
In total, around 40,000 young individuals will be called up to the draft offices. Among them, approximately 10,000 will be sent to serve in the armed forces and other troops or military formations in April-May.
On April 27, 2023, Deputy Chairman of the State Border Committee, Igor Pechen, announced that Belarus planned to increase the personnel of certain units on the southern border. Pechen stated that the situation on the southern direction was challenging but manageable, and the units were equipped with everything necessary.
“All necessary security measures have already been taken by us. Of course, further improvement and equipping of the military personnel are underway. We also plan to increase the personnel of certain units and acquire new weapons. However, this is planned work that was carried out last year, is being conducted now, and will continue in the future,” Pechen stated.
On April 27, 2023, an important bilateral meeting was held in the capital of India, New Delhi, between Viktor Khrenin, the Defense Minister of Belarus, and Li Shangfu, a member of the State Council and the Defense Minister of the People’s Republic of China.
During the meeting, “the high level of Belarusian-Chinese bilateral relations” with the status of “comprehensive and all-weather strategic partnership”, was emphasized. “The parties exchanged views on the state and prospects of cooperation in the military sphere, and outlined ways for further collaboration in the near future,” the Belarussian Defense Ministry stated.
On April 28, 2023, the Belarusian Defense Minister, Viktor Khrenin, spoke at a meeting of defense ministers from the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in New Delhi, India.
In his speech, the head of the Belarusian Defense Ministry stated that “the unipolar world is becoming a thing of the past”, and certain forces “have encountered a crisis of globalization that was built on the monetary, financial, technological, and cultural dominance of the United States”.
The Defense Minister was convinced that in that case, it was about controlling the resources and wealth of the entire planet. According to Viktor Khrenin, Washington’s activity “destabilizes regions, forcing others – both competitors and allies – into confrontation”.
On April 29, 2023, the Chief of the General Staff and First Deputy Defense Minister, Viktor Gulevich, stated that the sudden combat readiness check of one of the units of the Armed Forces demonstrated that the troops were prepared to repel any aggression against Belarus if necessary.
“Combat training is the main component of military forces’ activities. This is further compounded by the tense situation that has arisen at our borders. We are forced to react to hostile actions from our neighbors who are intensively conducting combat training,” Viktor Gulevich said.
On April 29, 2023, the State Secretary of the Security Council of Belarus, Alexander Volfovich, stated that if necessary, Belarus could put under the gun up to 1.5 million people.
“Today, we maintain all these structures within peace time states. We cannot afford, and it would probably be wrong, to expand military component, shall we say, to full wartime strength, i.e. to form a military organization of over 1 million people. Although the entire complex (including the military, the police, the Committee for State Security, border guards, territorial defense, and the people’s militia) will amount to less than 1.5 million people, who will be armed and ready to defend their country if necessary,” Volfovitch stated.