On September 21, 2022, Vladimir 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 present to your attention the monitoring report on activities of the Belarusian army for the May of 2023.
In total, in May we have recorded three public speeches of Aliaksandr Lukashenka on military matters, eleven public statements of the military leadership of the Republic of Belarus, five facts of testing of weapons or bringing new weapons systems into service and twelve facts of redeployment and training of the Belarusian military (and other uniformed agencies), as well as of the Russian troops in Belarus.
A distinct characteristic of this monitoring report is that there has been registered a huge number of nuclear blackmail elements from the side of the Belarusian military and Belarusian politicians at once. Those include public statements about deployment of Russia’s nuclear weapons in Belarus, as well as communication about depreservation of nuclear objects and about preparation of Belarusian military specialists that are assigned to work with nuclear weapons. In total, we counted six such elements of nuclear blackmail during May.
On May 1, 2023, in Belarus, the final phase of brigade tactical exercise started, which were held in the framework of complex check of combat readiness of the armed forces with one of the Western Operational Command troops.
All the units were involved into the exercise, the Ministry of Defence said. The process is being observed by the Defence Minister, Viktor Khrenin, the head of the Main Directorate of Ideology of the Ministry of Defence, Leonid Kasinsky, and representatives of the State Secretariat of the Security Council.
On May 1, 2023, in Belarus, another brigade tactical exercise finished which had been held in the framework of the check of combat readiness of the armed forces. The Defence Minister, Viktor Khrenin, visited one of the training grounds and distributed presents and merch of Lukashenka to exemplary candidates liable for military service.
The brigade tactical training held in the course of the check of combat readiness, has finished, but the check is still going on, the Defence Minister, Viktor Khrenin, said at a solemn ceremony. He handed over presents and the merch of Lukashenka to the candidates liable for military service that have shown the best results in combat training subjects. The Belarusian dictator was depicted on the print of T-shirts holding that very tommy gun without a magazine with bullets, that he carried near the Palace of Independence on August 23, 2020, – the day when the protesting people came there.
On May 2, 2023, the Chairman of the State Border Committee of the Republic of Belarus, Anatoly Lapo, informed that new forces had been allocated to guard the borders with the EU. Now, maneuvering groups are being formed on two directions.
“Las year, we formed one maneuvering group in Mozyr detachment (it’s about 300 people), and now the situation is such that we have to form another maneuvering group on Lida direction, and one more – as a reserve on Brest direction. When autumn comes, maybe they will not be needed there, then we shall move it to another direction”, Lapo said.
On May 3, 2023, the Ministry of Defence of Belarus informed that it was going to conduct “another phase of the complex check of combat readiness of military units and detachments, responding to crisis situations”. First of all, that was regarding the west of Belarus.
“First of all, those military units and detachments are going to be subject to the check which are deployed in Grodno, Brest and Minsk regions. Exercise and trainings of various scale, as well as conscription of those liable for military service, are planned to be held; the number of conscripts should not exceed 1000 people,” the Ministry of Defence said. “One of the peculiarities of the complex check will be approbation of forming people’s militia units and performing of training and combat tasks by them in the interest of maintaining martial law. Detachments of special operations forces, Air Force and Air Defence, operational commands, missile troops and artillery, support units are going to be engaged into the maneuvers. They are going to operate on several training grounds and sectors of terrain”.
Besides that, Russian aviation was also going to participate. Belarusian pilots together with the pilots from the Russian Federation “are going to perform tasks of air patrol of the air area of the Republic of Belarus.”
On May 3, 2023, Major General Igor Demidenko was appointed Head of the General Staff Faculty – Deputy Head of Military Academy of Belarus. Aliaksandr Lukashenka signed the corresponding Order n. 130.
Previously, Igor Demidenko held the post of Commander of the Western Operations Command. He was dismissed from that post at the end of March and placed at the disposal of the Ministry of Defence till May 9, 2023.
The post of Demidenko was assigned to Colonel Vladimir Bely, who had previously been Head of the General Staff Faculty – Deputy Head of Military Academy of the Republic of Belarus. Therefore, the military officials have in fact exchanged their posts.
On May 3, 2023, the Deputy Chair of Brest Regional Executive Committee, Vadzim Krauchuk, informed that financial means earned during the republican Saturday voluntary work day started arriving to the Brest region for the purpose to build a center of patriotic education of youth.
“Approximately over 14 million rubles are going to arrive to the republican budget from the Saturday voluntary work day. According to the decree of the Council of Ministers, half of those means are going to be directed to the Brest Regional Executive Committee. According to normative legal acts, the money is going to arrive till November 15, 2023. As of today, 8.6 million rubles have already been paid to the account of the republican Saturday voluntary work day. Therefore, we can already use 50% of those financial means which equals to about 4.3 million rubles”, Vadzim Krauchuk said.
First of all, the money is going to be used to prepare design and estimate documentation. Then, for the reconstruction of a barrack room to make it adequate for students’ accommodation, for construction of utility networks, creation of recreational and educational complex, which will include a sports nucleus, a tent town, a shooting range and playgrounds.
On May 3, 2023, the deputy chairman of the Minsk City Executive Committee, Artsiom Tsuran, said at the opening ceremony of the first city gathering of military patriotic clubs “Summit of Courage” that the number of military patriotic clubs in Minsk has doubled.
“Now, the number of military patriotic clubs has doubled, a thousand people are studying there. We see the demand for increasing the number of such clubs even more. The same is happening with military patriotic classes: in two years, there number has grown more than two times. Such growth shows, that kids are interested in that”, Artsiom Tsuran said.
The chairman of the Minsk Regional Executive Committee, Uladzimir Kukharou, noted that the officials were “not going to be satisfied with what has already been achieved”.
On May 3, 2023, the Ministry of Defence of Russia gathered all the military attachés of the “friendly” countries and held a briefing for them on nuclear policy of the country. Among other things, the issue of deployment of tactical nuclear weapons from the Russian Federation to Belarus was mentioned: according to the Deputy Minister, Aleksandr Fomin, it was a response to the actions of NATO.
According to Fomin, Russia demanded from the USA and their NATO allies to return the American nuclear weapons back to the territory of the United States, but those demands “were rejected”. Therefore, a decision “about addition measures to ensure security of the Union State” was made. “The taken measures are a response to the activity of the North-Atlantic Alliance aimed to escalate the situation”, the Ministry of Defence of Russia claimed.
On May 3, 2023, independent mass media reported how the spontaneous check of combat readiness really was conducted in the April of this year. As direct participants of that process, who were dragged out of their peaceful life for a month, say, the real condition of the Belarusian army is very far from what the leadership of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Belarus declare.
“We went to a training ground in Baranavichy. However, we were deployed not in the territory of the training ground, but in a forest near it. There was no place at the training ground for everybody. We lived in tents, although the weather conditions were not very good, it was raining a lot”, Vitaly describes. “There was only one generator to produce the electrical power, and it was taken by the officers to their tent. Soldiers were left without electricity. Some decided to chip in together and buy a generator, but it was not enough for everybody, too. Once a week we were taken to “take a bath”: it was a big tent, where a machine delivers tepid water. Rest of the time, those who had been smart enough to bring wet wipes, washed themselves with those wipes”.
“During firearms training, there was a show-off in front of the bosses. In real life, all the equipment is falling apart, is broken. Some weapons shot once or twice and broke”, an eyewitness claimed. “The rest of the time, they are explaining us the theory. Sometimes it happened that we did not do anything at all. Then part of the people was taken to perform different jobs: cleaning the territory, mess duty and so on. In total, there is no training at all, a lot of people did not even understand what they had to do. Everything went ideally only when the supreme command was visiting”.
On May 4, 2023, independent mass media found out that people’s militia units, actively created by the rulers of Belarus, are indeed created illegally: there is just no corresponding legislation in the country.
On May 5, 2023, the Ministry of Defence of Belarus informed that Belarusian pilots together with Russian pilots were patrolling the sky of Belarus; the crews “have no difficulties to interact or jointly perform the given tasks”. The pilots worked out the tasks of air patrol and mutual security in the framework of another check of combat readiness announced in Belarus.
“Flying in formation gives a lot to the pilots, both to the leading pilot and to the wingman. Our crews fly the same type of equipment with the same type of armament, the level of the pilots is approximately the same, therefore it is easy for the crews to interact and jointly perform the given tasks”, the deputy commander of the Belarusian Air Force and Air Defence Forces, Leonid Davidovich said.
On May 6, 2023, the Ministry of Defence of Belarus informed that the check of combat readiness of the territorial defence were being continued in the country, and people’s militia units were being formed. More people’s militia units were formed in two agricultural executive committees of Volkovyssk district.
According to the communication of the military establishment, the people’s militia units performed tasks of ensuring maintenance of public order in the course of a complex check of combat readiness of the armed forces, as well as ensure security of movement of military columns.
On May 6, 2023, the press service of the Ministry of Defence of Belarus reported that Belarusian military units and detachments of missile troops were practicing training and combat tasks of performing missile attacks.
The military personnel of the missile troops drove to the training grounds, the ministry reported. They were going to practice continuous management of units, planning of fire destruction of a potential enemy in the course of the exercise. They were also going to perform highly maneuverable actions in “in a fast-changing environment”, as well as “training and combat tasks of preparation and performing of missile attacks.”
On May 6, 2023, the Deputy Prime Minister of Belarus, Ihar Petryshenka, said on television that by the end of this year every Belarusian school will have patriotic classes. According to Petryshenka, the youth “is happy to join military patriotic clubs, where they study with pleasure and test themselves in physical training, stamina and knowledge of the history of their country”.
There are about 800 military patriotic clubs in Belarus now. Also, over 18 military patriotic clubs in the Interior Ministry troops have been created, over 11 – in the Military patriotic and the State Border Committee.
On May 10, 2023, the “Belarusian Investigative Center” (BIC) detected that in three months the employment service posted 182 vacancies of heads for patriotic education in schools and colleges across the whole country. One of them is even ready to employ a Russian mercenary from the Wagner Group for the job.
Experience of service in the armed forces is indicated as a mandatory requirement for a lot of those vacancies. The journalists of the BIC called several schools and colleges and introduced themselves as a mercenary of the Wagner Group who had fought in Ukraine and was looking for a job at that moment. One of Minsk schools said that such experience was suitable for them.
“A mandatory requirement for that position is the experience of work in the armed forces. It is clear, that you possess it”, the principal of the Minsk school №69 said in response to the question if a Wagner Group mercenary with Russian citizenship could apply for the job.
Back in June, 2022, the Minister of Education of Belarus at the time, Ihar Karpenka, reported about bringing back a position of a head for military and patriotic education to all the schools of the country; the job would involve occupation with pre-military training of teenagers by analogy with the Soviet practices. In his turn, the Defence Minister of the country, Viktor Khrenin, explained that first of all, regular military personnel would be employed for those jobs.
On May 11, 2023, the press service of the Ministry of Defence reported that training sessions with people subject for military duty were going to take place from May, 11 till June, 2 in Mozyrsky district and in Leninsky district of Minsk. The reservists would be sent to staff the command bodies of the territorial defence and military units of territorial troops.
During the course of the training session, the officials were supposed to practice a range of activities regarding formation of territorial troops and their training for performance of tasks. At the final stage of the training session, the obligated reservists were supposed to participate in command post exercises during which the conscripted reservists were to guard life-support facilities, ensure public order in the streets of cities and towns together with the police.
On May 12, 2023, Aliaksandr Lukashenka signed a law on ratification of the agreement with the Russian Federation on the implementation of the Program of Military-Technical Cooperation until the year 2025. The agreement had been concluded on September 23, 2022. Then it was approved by both chambers of the Belarusian parliament.
The document officially gives effect to the program of military and technical cooperation. Within its framework, reciprocal deliveries of arms and equipment between Belarus and Russia were established, as well as joint projects of the Defence industries, development and production of armament, military equipment, dual-use and special-purpose goods. In total, the program consists of 199 activities.
On May 12, 2023, the press service of the Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Belarus reported that several tank platoons of the Armed Forces of Belarus, in the course of check of combat readiness, perform the task of reinforcement of State borders guarding. The military establishment also noted that the personnel of the tank detachment had organized protection and Defence, as well as engineering equipment of the staging area, performed masking of weapons, military and special equipment during the complex check of combat readiness.
“Crews performed test fire from the armament of the tank T-72B on tank mean line. The military personnel of a support unit performed gunnery drills from AKS-74 assault rifles. Also, tactical training has been conducted with the servicemen”, the Ministry of Defence added.
On May 12, 2023, it became known that in Belarus they were going to reinforce the Defence of three bridges near the border with Ukraine and that over a thousand combat pistols with ammunition would be transferred to the paramilitary security forces of the Belarusian Railway. That decision was made by Lukashenka at a meeting with his uniformed agencies at the beginning of May after explosions that had happened on the railways of the Bryansk region in Russia.
It is stated, that the already existing list of guarded bridges is going to be completed by another three bridges on the rivers Pripyat, Goryn and Dnipro, situated not far from the border of Belarus and Ukraine. For that purpose, the Belarusian Railway has changed the regular schedule of the paramilitary security: from November of the last year, additional 130 shooters were hired there, whose responsibilities involve round-the-clock security of 13 strategic railway bridges.
Besides that, the regime attended to arm the employees of the paramilitary security forces of the Belarusian Railway: the Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of Internal Affairs are going to hand over 1132 Makarov 9 mm combat pistol sets and 76,976 bullets to them for a “free rent”.
On May 13, 2023, after several aircrafts and helicopters had been shot down in the Bryansk region in Russia, the Belarusian troops were converted to the alert level number one. The military reported about that to Aliaksandr Lukashenka.
“Three days after the events near us. I mean, those in Bryansk region, when four areal vehicles got shot down. We were forced to react to that. Since then, we are on a higher alert – our troops. That is why I am interested in the situation around the country. Naturally, also in directions and prospects for the development of that situation. Briefly. Without intimidation. About what is going on and what we are expecting in the short term”, Lukashenka said on May, 15. According to him, the situation in Belarus now “is not critical, but nevertheless, there are alarming factors”.
On May 16, 2023, amendments to the law “On military duty and military service” were published in Belarus. It was amended and received the status of a law. The most important amendment that has been made is that studying abroad is no longer considered to be a ground for deferment from military duty.
The deferment from the military service for Belarusians studying abroad has been canceled. Only those students shall be granted such a deferment who are studying abroad by the assignment of the republican government bodies in the framework of implementation of state programs. However, there are exceptions: the deferment can be obtained if on the date of entering of this law into force the student was studying in a foreign educational establishment in intramural form of study and had entered those educational establishments before the age of 18.
The law also stipulates that in case several citizens in one family are subject to call-up for compulsory military service, service in the reserves and have a right to deferral, it can be “granted to one of them according to the request of the family members (relatives)”.
On May 16, 2023, independent mass media paid attention to the fact that the Military Conscription and Enlistment Office of Gomel region is actively maintaining its TikTok account. Not long before that, training sessions with people subject for military duty had started in three regions of Belarus; they were encouraged to join the territorial defence. The TikTok of the Military Conscription and Enlistment Office could not miss that event, of course.
For example, on one video with pompous music, it boasted about trench dug to the letter. Also, probably, the territorial defence participants had dug it with entrenching shovels. Another video shows shooting exercise performed by mature looking men in camouflage.
On May 16, 2023, Permanent Representative of Belarus to the United Nations, Valentin Rybakov, said in the course of the debates in the United Nations Organization, that no practical measures for deployment of Russian tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus had been taken for now.
“That announcement about deployment of tactical nuclear weapons in the Republic of Belarus is, first of all, just a statement. Nothing practical has been made in that regard so”, Rybakov said. “Second, it is a sovereign decision of any state to defend itself from any threats and challenges the country encounters”. Rybakov assured that if any decision is made in that sphere, it would be “the decision of the government of Belarus, and not of any other state”.
On May 16, 2023, information appeared that in the course of the 11th International Exhibition of Arms and Military Machinery MILEX-2023, the Belarusian State-owned Foreign Trade Unitary Enterprise “Belspetsvneshtechnika” would present about a dozen of their own kinds of small arms.
In particular, machine guns VSK-100 and SMAR-100BPM, a sniper rifle SCR-1200М, sniper rifles “Stilet” and “Shepot”, PP-919 and PPV-919 submachine guns.
On May 17, 2023, it became known that a school military instructor, Dmitry Ukleyko, had been appointed chief of intelligence of the headquarters of the territorial defence of Gomel. The said school military instructor, before his appointment, took Belarusian children to a Russian cultural centre to “honor the memory” of the Russian military propagandist, Vladlen Tatarsky, killed in Saint Petersburg.
In his comment to a Telegram channel, Ukleyko said that during regional exercise of the territorial defence, the called reservists were handed arms and started performing shooting training.
Dmitry Ukleyko is a former border guard. Before, he held the office of Assistant Commander of the Gomel Border Group for public relations; he holds the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. Now, Ukleyko is a military instructor of Gomel school n. 59. In April, he took his pupils to the Russian cultural center to “honor the memory” of the supporter of Russian aggression against Ukraine and propagandist, Vladlen Tatarsky, killed in an explosion in a Saint-Petersburg coffee shop.
On May 18, 2023, during the Exhibition of Arms and Military Machinery MILEX-2023, the Chairman of the State Authority for Military Industry, Dmitry Pantus, said that the defence industry of Belarus had recently increased supplies of military machinery to Russia, first of all, due to the ongoing war.
“Of course, the volume of supplies of military goods manufactured in the Republic of Belarus to the Russian Federation has increased, and we should honestly admit it”, Pantus said.
When journalists asked to specify if the increase in weapons’ supply was caused by the war in Ukraine, he answered in the affirmative. At the same time, Pantus refused to give any figures. He also claimed that the war in Ukraine influenced the word of the State Authority for Military Industry. Besides that, he assured that the Belarusian defence industry was ready to supply “any type of armaments our brothers might be interested in” to the Russian Federation.
On May 18, 2023, the Chairman of the Security Council of Belarus, Alexander Volfovich, said at the session of the CSTO PA Council that allegedly the Security Council note the attempts to bring weapons and explosives to the territory of Belarus through the Ukrainian border.
“In order to ensure stability of military security and military situation, the enforcement agencies of Belarus, first of all, the armed forces and other troops and military formations ave been transferred to an enhanced mode of service”, Volfovich claimed. According to him, the military transferred to the state border “are covering the activities of the bodies of the border service with the aim to prevent various provocations.”
On May 18, 2023, the readers of the Belarusian independent media told that men who have the status “unfit for military service in peace time” had been urgently called to military conscription and enlistment offices for reexamination. As it turned out, now they may be called up for military duty, as the medical restriction for the troop duties have become less strict.
On May 18, 2023, and in the few following days, the 11th International Exhibition of Arms and Military Machinery MILEX-2023 was held in Minsk. A lot of types of weapons not only from Belarus, but also from Russia, China and their allies were shown there.
For example, such as WS-43 – an extremely powerful hybrid of a suicide drone and a cruise missile produced in China, a multiple-launch rocket system Shkval (Belarus), a new generation radar Nebosklon (Belarus), a high-precision projectile Basir (Iran), MOP 236 fire support machine (Belarus), Mohajer-6 – one of the most famous Iranian drones, and other products.
On May 19, 2023, the Chairman of theState Authority for Military Industry, Dmitry Pantus, informed the journalists that his establishment had signed a record number of contracts at the weapons exhibition MILEX-2023, for the sum of $265 million. According to Pantus, the Belarusian multiple-launch rocket system “Polonaise” enjoyed the particular interest of the potential buyers.
“Polonaise is one of the main achievements of the defence industry complex of the Republic of Belarus. It is constantly arousing interest. Here I’d like to note, that not only Polonaise, but also other means of destruction. For instance, Shkval, modernized Uragan and the Belarusian Buk anti-aircraft missile system. They also arise interest, a number of negotiations are being held on that issue”, the head of the State Authority for Military Industry claimed.
On May 19, 2023, in Gomel, there were established checkpoints in the framework of the planned training session of the territorial Defence. Those checkpoints were constructed out of concrete blocks and sandbags and were totally identical to the checkpoints established in Kyiv and other cities of Ukraine at the very beginning of the Russian aggression against that country.
“The planned training session of the territorial defence have been held in Gomel since May, 11. At the final stage of the training session, the obligated reservists participate in command post exercises during which the which the detachments will have to guard life-support facilities. In connection with that, checkpoints are going to be organized in every district of the regional center, in certain streets determined by the plan of the training”, the chairman of Gomel City Executive Committee, Vladimir Privalov, informed.
On May 19, 2023, it became known that the day before Russian military echelon arrived to Belarus from the occupied Volnovakha. On May 11, from the station of Volnovakha, occupied by Russian troops, to the station Zaslonovo (Minsk department of the Belarusian Railway) the military echelon N. 961 was sent, consisting of 45 cars (four passenger, two covered cars with ammunition, 39 flat cars loaded with tracked and wheeled military vehicles). The echelon arrived at the destination station on May, 18.
On May 20, 2023, the Defence Minister of Belarus, Viktor Khrenin, during the military oath ceremony at the 72nd Joint Training Centre, claimed that the West was trying to sink in blood the Slavic brotherhood to keep their dominance.”
“We see with our own eyes how drastically the world order is changing. The West is trying to sink the Slavic brotherhood in blood and preserve their dominance with all means. The military infrastructure is being strengthened, NATO troops are being concentrated near the borders of the Union State”, the Defence Minister said.
That is why, he continued, “in order to preserve peace and stability in Belarus”, the army continues strengthening the state border, participate in checks of combat readiness and carry on combat duty.
“Military service is a hard male work. Intense military training, participation in training sessions, modern technology and armaments, acquisition of a military occupational specialty are awaiting for us. It is not going to be easy, but only shoulder to shoulder with our comrades in arms, under the leadership of experienced commanders, it is possible to overcome that path; and when you do – you will definitely reach manhood”, the head of the Ministry of Defence promised the conscripts.
On May 22, 2023, the assistant of the Defence Minister of Belarus, Leonid Kasinsky, said that the armament system of the Belarusian army had been renewed, and principles of combat training had been radically changed. The motive was the war in Ukraine.
“We have fundamentally revised the training system, have radically changed the programs of combat training, have made fundamental conclusions about purchase, modernization and equipment of the armed forces with new promising models of armaments and machinery”, Leonid Kasinsky said. “If we assess the nature of warfare today, only 10-15 years ago we considered that decisions on battle corrections could be made during minutes or hours. Today, we have arrived to the conclusion, that it is necessary to make decisions in real time”.
He also informed that Belarusian air forces had already been re-equipped and refit to carry tactical nuclear weapons, and the military personnel had already passed a training course on the use of S-400 missile systems and Iskander missile launchers.
On May 23, 2023, the Commander of the Joint Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Lieutenant-General Serhiy Naiev, informed the journalists that 13 aircrafts and 12 helicopters of the Aerospace Forces of the Russian Federation remain in airfields in Belarus.
“After the failed invasion of the Russian army from the territory of Belarus and consequent failures in the East and in the South of our country, the leadership of Belarus limited their cooperation with Russia to supplies of weapons, ammunition, as well as to providing training grounds for preparation of the mobilized persons”, Naiev underlined. “Currently, 13 aircrafts still remain in the territory of Belarus: Su-34 – 8 units, Su-30SM – 3 units, Su-24M – 2 units. Also, we observe there 12 helicopters Mi-8, Mi-24 and Mi-28N of the Russian Aerospace Forces”.
According to the data of the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine, approximately 2.5 thousand Russian military personnel are currently in the territory of Belarus, who are involved in military training, exercise and are deployed at training grounds of Belarus.
On May 23, 2023, the press service of the Ministry of Defence of Belarus informed that a meeting with officers-operators of the Armed Forces was held from May, 23 till may, 24. The event was a planned one, and it was held under the leadership of the deputy head of the General Staff of the Armed Forces, Chief of the Main Operational Directorate, Sergey Lagodiuk. The aim of the meeting was professional advancement of officers-operators in performing tasks for the intended purpose, the Ministry of Defence noted.
On May, 23, 2023, the head of the State Authority for Military Industry, Dmitry Pantus, informed the journalists that the domestic multiple-launch rocket system Shkval had been adopted for service by the army.
“And there are a lot of such models. Our latest product, Sapphire grenade launcher complex, for example, is currently undergoing a very serious testing. We are planning to complete the work by September, it will also be adopted for service”, Pantus said.
The multiple-launch rocket system Shkval is another modernization of the Soviet system Grad, presented by the company “VOLATAVTO” (subsidiary of the Minsk Wheeled Tractor Plant). Its distinct characteristics: Shkval is based on Russian chassis “Ural-4320” with a diesel engine. The weight of the machine is 15 tons, the maximum road speed is 85 km per hour. In one volley, the MLRS can fire 40 missiles.
On May 24, 2023, the State Secretary of the Security Council of Belarus, Alexander Volfovich, said that Belarus was ready to provide a platform for negotiations on conflict in Ukraine.
“Belarus is doing and is ready to do everything what is needed in order to reach a peaceful settlement. I’ll remind: three round of negotiations [on Ukraine] in the last year were conducted on Belarusian ground. We are ready to reinstate that practice and provided everything what is needed to do that”, he said.
On May 25, 2023, the Defence Minister of Russia, Sergei Shoigu, arrived in Minsk to participate at the meeting of the Council of Defence Ministers of the member states of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO).
“In the course of the meeting, the defence ministers are going to discuss challenges and threats to the military security in the regions of the collective security, issues of improvement of the crisis response system if the format of the Organization, as well as a number of other issues of mutual interest”, the communication of the Russian Ministry of Defence says.
On May 25, 2023, the Defence Ministers of Belarus and Russia signed documents defining the procedure for storage of nuclear weapons in a special storage facility on the territory of Belarus.
The Defence Minister of Belarus, Viktor Khrenin, at the meeting with his Russian colleague, Sergei Shoigu, reminded that in the framework of the military and military-technical cooperation, Russia had equipped our armed forces with new modern models of weapons.
“In the situation of non-fulfillment of security guarantees, given to the Republic of Belarus in the Budapest Memorandum on December 5, 1994, as well as in view of the continued aggressive rhetoric, supported by practical actions in relation to the Republic of Belarus and the Russian Federation from the side of the countries of the “collective” West, work on deployment of non-strategical nuclear weapons of the Russian Federation in the territory of the Republic of Belarus has been organized by the orders of the heads of our states. It is going to constitute a comprehensive response to the aggressive policy of the countries unfriendly to us and, as we hope, will make their governments to think about unacceptability of further escalation of the situation in the region”, Khrenin said.
On May 25, 2023, the Minister of Internal Affairs, Ivan Kubrakou, stated that Interior Ministry officials perform their duties on protection of order along the whole perimeter of the state border, and not just on its southern direction.
“Today, our officials perform their duties on ensuring public order in the regions not only boarding with Ukraine, but on the whole perimeter of the border. We react to all the challenges and threats, and any incoming information is immediately double-checked”, he said.
The minister reminded that special detachments to fight sabotage and reconnaissance groups had been created in the Interior Ministry troops, that had already begun to carry out their service.
On May 25, 2023, Aliaksandr Lukashenka assured that Russian nuclear weapons in Belarus would be “totally safe”, that “no saboteurs would break through to them, including those from Poland”.
“If saboteurs want to penetrate your, our territory, there are plenty opportunities today to do that unnoticeably. I mean, as a professional I’ll tell you, without using the “green border”. Therefore, with saboteurs, it is plainly mundane reasoning in this case that they can penetrate, if the frontier is “not locked”. Saboteurs penetrate the territory by other routes. Therefore, do not worry about the “lock”, Lukashenka said. “You know, that we are punctual, accurate, economic people. That is why, don’t you worry about the nuclear weapons, we are responsible for them”.
On May 25, 2023, Aliaksandr Lukashenka claimed that movement of nonstrategic nuclear weapons from Russian to the territory of Belarus had already started.
“He (the president of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin) informed me that today he has signed the decree on our actions for deployment of nuclear weapons in Belarus. It was about a specific document. A decision was made about the development of what had been said verbally. We had to prepare storage facilities and other things. We have done that, therefore, the movement of nuclear ammunition has already started”, Lukashenka said.
When answered the question whether the nonstrategic nuclear weapons were already in Belarus, Lukashenka replied: “Probably”.
On May 26, 2023, the Defence Minister, Viktor Khrenin, at the opening of the gathering “Military Security and Defence of the Republic of Belarus” in Gomel, claimed that the territorial defence, from a support system, is being transformed into a full-scale combat one.
The head of the military establishment underlined, that the decision to hold a gathering in Gomel region was not made not by chance, but because of the “conflict happening between Russia and Ukraine”. Also, the Defence Minister quoted Lukashenka that the “Belarusian peacefulness is not a synonym for self-sacrifice”, and that in case of any aggression “the response will be swift and harsh”.
On May 27, 2023, in Loshytsa microdistrict in Minsk a checkpoint was established in the middle of a road: concrete blocks and sandbags. People wearing military uniforms were behind the roadblock.
The military cordoned off Vladzislau Syrakomlia street, at its very end. The place was inconspicuous, at a dead-end, near the railway stop “Loshytsa”. The roadblock looked like that: sandbags, concrete blocks and a gate arm. A field camp was nearby, the tent was covered with a camouflage net. The military explained that a training of territorial defence troops was going on and that it was supposed to continue for about another week.
On May 28, 2023, another set of of anti-aircraft missile systems S-400 arrived to Belarus. It was announced that it would be put on combat duty in the near future.
“Today is a landmark day for the Air Force and Air Defence Forces. We greet one more our detachment of anti-aircraft missile troops, armed with modern anti-aircraft missile systems S-400 that have arrived from a training ground of the Russian Federation. Our specialists, our combat crews at the training ground of the Russian Federation completed all the set tasks of training, improvement, combat use of the anti-aircraft missile system S-400”, the Commander of the Air Force and Air Defence of the Armed Forces of Belarus, Andrey Lukyanovich, said.
On May 28, 2023, the State Secretary of the Security Council of Belarus, Alexander Volfovich, speculated on STV channel on the question why Belarus needs nuclear weapons. In his opinion, an “offensive group is being formed” in the neighboring countries, so, in order to “cool those hot heads”, Belarus has only two options. The first one is to “re-target the economy for military needs”. The second one is to get tactical nuclear weapons into the country.
According to the information of Volfovich, an “offensive group is being formed, by and large,” in the territories of the neighboring countries. He gave, as an example, Poland, where, according to his information, 4% of the GDP is reserved for defence “to the detriment of the economy”. An element of strategic deterrence, he explained, is tactical nuclear weapons. By his words, the West just had not left another option for Belarus, but to have TNW deployed in the country.
On May 29, 2023, the press service of the Ministry of Defence of Belarus informed that a special training on providing troops with missiles was held in Belarus from May, 29, till June, 2. Persons subject to military service, conscripted to military technical support units, participated in the exercise.
“During the exercise, the military are going to practice provision of support to military formations and units with missiles and ammunition, ways of enhancing the survivability of the forces and means of technical support, elimination of consequences of missile and aviation strikes by a simulated enemy”, the Ministry of Defence informed.
On May 30, 2023, it became known that the Belarusian enterprise “Scientific and Technical Center LEMT” together with two Russian research institutions is designing a 100-kW laser module for destruction of unmanned combat air vehicles at a long distance. The prototype device should be ready this year.
“We have a joint project with two research institutes from Russia. We are creating a very powerful and perfect system – a laser to fight unmanned drones. We are talking about striking drones at a distance of tens of kilometers. Have you read “the Hyperboloid of engineer Garin”? It will also strike a drone with a laser beam”, LEMT representative said, specifying that the capacity of the system was going to reach 100 kW. As he noted, the cooperation program with Russian enterprises is planned to last for two years, the working prototype of the system is going to be ready in 2023.
It is also known about development of a module that will destroy drones with a laser beam at a distance of up to 1.5 km. The 30-kW system is equipped with a complex of recognition and identification of the drone type and is capable to track targets all by itself and destroy them with a laser beam regardless of their speed. It can be mounted on vehicles, as well as be transported in a container. The first experimental prototype has successfully proved itself during tests conducted by one of the clients from the Middle East region.
On May 30, 2023, Aliaksandr Lukashenka held a number of personnel appointments. In particular, he dismissed the Chairman of the State Border Committee from military service to the reserve and appointed a new one.
Lukashenka appointed Kanstantsin Molastau a new Chairman of the State Border Committee. Before his appointment as the Chairman of the State Border Committee, Kanstantsin Molastau held the office of the Head of the Grodno Border Group.
Anatoly Lapo, who had led the State Border Committee before, was dismissed from military service to the reserve. Lukashenka noted that he was a “very competent and intelligent person with extensive experience in military service”. “A real military person. We shall see. First, he rests a little, and then [he’ll be sent] to the service or to work’, Lukashenka ordered.
On May 30, 2023, the Ministry of Defence of Belarus informed that the Belarusian military were training to use Iskander-M missile launchers to perform missile strikes both with regular and special armament (i.e., with a nuclear combat element).
“Detachments of missile troops of the Armed Forces, equipped with Iskander-M operational-tactical missile system, are participating in the control exercise. During the exercise, the issues of preparation and performance of combat actions of missile troops, as well as fulfillment of training and combat tasks on preparation and performance of missile strikes both with regular and special armament are going to be worked out”, the communication of the military establishment reports.
On May 31, 2023, the deputies of the parliament of Belarus adopted on first reading the draft law “About people’s militia”. The draft law was presented by the Defence Minister of Belarus, Viktor Khrenin, and a member of the Standing Committee of the House of Representatives on National Security, Yauhen Zaitsau.
“The draft law is aimed at establishing the legal framework so that citizens of the Republic of Belarus, foreign citizens and stateless persons permanently resident in the territory of the Republic of Belarus, could exercise their right for voluntary participation in provision of the regime of martial law in the Republic of Belarus”, the parliament informed.
On May 31, 2023, the Defence Minister of Belarus, Viktor Khrenin, during his speech in the parliament of Belarus, reported that basic military training was going to be taught to all the students of the country. According to him, a joint document with the Ministry of Education had already been adopted, and academic hours for studying the special course had been assigned.
Presenting to the deputies the draft law “About people’s militia” for examination on first reading, the head of the Ministry of Defence noted that further provision was made for the training of citizens who are willing to defend the country “voluntarily, but for some reasons are not subject for mobilization”. Such Belarusians are going to be trained in the use of arms. At the same time, as the minister noted, there are no age or gender restrictions for that.