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 June 2023.

In total, for June, we have monitored five public statements on military topics made by Alexander Lukashenko, three public statements by the military leadership of Belarus, three instances of testing or adopting of new weaponry, and 15 instances of relocations and exercises involving Belarusian military (and other Belarusian security forces) as well as Russian troops in Belarus.

In this monitoring, a concerning number of instances of nuclear blackmail by Belarusian military and politicians were documented. These include public statements suggesting the potential placement of Russian nuclear weapons in Belarus, as well as reports regarding the reactivation of nuclear facilities and the training of Belarusian military personnel to handle nuclear weapons. Throughout June, a total of six such elements of nuclear blackmail were identified.

On June 1, 2023, Minsk Territorial Defense fighters participated in a command-staff exercise in the Lenin District of the capital.

At the first site, situated on 27 Rokossovsky Avenue, the military practiced guarding and defending a strategically significant facility. Firing positions were established  along the perimeter, and the area was fortified with engineering barriers.

From Rokossovskogo Avenue, the participants of the exercise moved to Syrokomli Street, where a checkpoint was set up. Here, practical patrol procedures while on duty were rehearsed. The personnel from territorial forces, in coordination with law enforcement officials, conducted vehicle stops, document checks, and thorough inspections of the interiors and trunks.

On June 2, 2023, information emerged that the armed forces of Russia were conducting the rotation of their units deployed in Belarus in the framework of the regional grouping of troops.

“The personnel, weaponry, and equipment from the combined arms and tank formations of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation are arriving in the territory of the Republic of Belarus using a combined method“, Belarussian Defense Ministry reported.

On June 5, 2023, interdepartmental counter-terrorism exercises involving representatives from law enforcement agencies began in the territory of the Gomel region. The exercises lasted until June 7. Their objective was to prepare competent government agencies and other organizations for ‘combating the activities of terrorist organizations and illegal armed groups

Military equipment was involved in the exercises. It was announced that traffic restrictions might be imposed. Specifically, in Svetlogorsk, all vehicles entering and leaving the city were inspected.

On June 5, 2023, the Belarusian Investigative Center, while examining the state procurement portal, discovered a tender worth 3.1 million rubles. It revealed that the Ministry of Defense of Belarus decided to purchase Russian tactical unmanned aerial systems. These drones are used for reconnaissance purposes in the territory of Ukraine.

The discussion is about two sets of Supercam S350 (or equivalents) and one set of Supercam S150 (or equivalent). Each set includes the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) itself, controllable video cameras, batteries, remote control devices, tablets, and other equipment. The Supercam UAVs are developed by the Russian company “Unmanned Systems”, with the S350 model being one of their flagship products, primarily designed for video monitoring purposes. Its maximum flight duration is 4.5 hours, and it can transmit information over a distance of up to 100 kilometers. According to the manufacturer’s website, the complex can be used for “surveillance and reconnaissance” as well as for safeguarding national borders.

On June 6, 2023, it became known that conscripts in the Minsk district would be trained by instructors from the Wagner PMC. Here’s how it all unfolded: In early June, conscripts from the Minsk district were summoned to the district military enlistment office. The summons indicated that it was for data clarification, but upon arrival, it turned out that the reason was different. The men were informed that they would be called up for training at the end of the month, and they would be trained, including by mercenaries from the Wagner PMC, which was fighting in Ukraine.

As it became known, from June 19th to June 28th, 10-day training camps will be held on the basis of military unit 3214. A representative of the unit told about it at a meeting with the conscripts. According to him, instructors from the PMC Wagner will also be involved in training of Belarusians.

On June 7, 2023, the Belarussian Defense Ministry showcased the work of a special operations forces unit on the border with Ukraine. The demonstration highlighted the ongoing efforts of the Armed Forces of Belarus in strengthening border sections in the southern direction.

“The equipping, weapons, and military hardware enable them to fully accomplish their assigned tasks. The paratroopers utilize drones, thermal imaging devices, night vision scopes, and are prepared for various scenarios“, the Ministry of Defense press release stated. It further noted that the Special Operations Forces (SOF) personnel served in collaboration with border guards and police officers, “ensuring reliable security for the citizens of our country”.

On June 8, 2023, a parliamentary bill was published on the National legal Internet portal, according to which armed rebellion in Belarus will become a reason to introduce a state of emergency, and the infiltration of armed groups by extremist organizations from other countries’ territories will lead to the imposition of martial law.

The bill proposes amendments to the law on the state of emergency. Whereas previously the state of emergency regime could be introduced because of “riots”, in the future, the grounds may include “attempts of forcibly changing the constitutional order, seizure or appropriation of state power, armed rebellion, mass and other disturbances”.

The draft law also includes amendments to the law on martial law. Mention of extremist groups and organizations is added as a basis for imposing martial law. The amendments also provide that “in case of inaction by the President of the Republic of Belarus” the state of emergency or martial law can be imposed by the National People’s Assembly.

The bill has already been submitted to the parliament. It must be passed in the House of Representatives and then approved in the Council of the Republic, after which it will be sent for Alexander Lukashenko’s signature.

On June 8, 2023, the spokesperson of the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine, Andriy Demchenko, reported during a briefing that the number of Russian military personnel in Belarus haв significantly decreased.

During the briefing, Demchenko stated that there were no signs of the creation of an offensive group in Belarus, and the number of Russian military personnel present in the country, primarily involved in training processes at training grounds, had considerably reduced.

“Based on our information, their current presence there is estimated to be no more than 1000, and this is significantly less than before“, he said. Demchenko also emphasized that the possibility of other Russian units’ arrival for training at Belarusian training grounds couldn’t be excluded in the future.

On June 9, 2023, during a meeting with Alexander Lukashenko, Vladimir Putin announced that the deployment of Russian nuclear weapons in Belarus would begin on July 7-8, immediately following the completion of the preparations for the storage facilities.

“On the most sensitive issues that we have agreed with you, everything’s on schedule. As you know, on 7-8 July, the preparation of the relevant storage facilities will be completed, and we will immediately begin activities related to the deployment of the relevant types of weapons on your territory. So everything is according to plan, everything is stable”, Putin said.

On June 10, 2023, at the Orsha Military Commissariat, fire training sessions were conducted with reserve officers. Based on the photos, reservists were being taught how to handle a pistol and Kalashnikov rifle in the courtyard of the military office. There was a residential high-rise building directly adjacent to the Improvised training site. The officers were observed aiming and firing either at the concrete wall or at the pallets behind which the building with windows was located. From the photos in the report, it`s evident that some of them were even unable to hold assault rifles correctly.

On June 10, 2023, the “Belarusian Railway Community” reported that during the 10 months of the war, more than 131 thousand tons of ammunition had been transported by rail from Belarus to Russia. According to railway representatives, the shipment of ammunition from Belarusian storage arsenals to Russia is still ongoing. On average, the volume of transportation by rail varies from 5 thousand to 10 thousand tons per month.

On June 11, 2023, conscripts took an oath at the 72nd Guards Joint Training Center located in the neighbourhood Pechi of Borisov. After the ceremony, the military personnel were handed cards featuring a photo of Lukashenko and the quote “Beloved one is not given away”. On the reverse side of the cards was parting words for military duty from the head of the 72nd center, Vadim Surov, stating that “Male maturity is is determined by many factors, one of which is military service”.

On June 13, 2023, during a working trip to the Minsk region, Alexander Lukashenko was informed about the establishment of domestic ammunition production.

Upon arrival at one of the military-industrial complex enterprises in the Minsk region, Lukashenko inquired whether the responsible officials had fulfilled their promises regarding the establishment of domestic ammunition production.

“Dear Comrade Commander-in-Chief, in accordance with your instruction regarding the establishment of production for the most commonly used types of ammunition in the Republic of Belarus, we have organized the necessary work,” reported Dmitry Pantus, Chairman of the State Military-Industrial Committee.

According to Pantus, this work was initiated in November 2022, and at present, more than fifty shell and mechanical components for such types of ammunition are being manufactured at the enterprises of the State Military-Industrial Committee and the Ministry of Industry.

On June 13, 2023, during a working trip to the Minsk region, Alexander Lukashenko called the conditions for the use of nuclear weapons from the territory of Belarus. According to his statements, the only reason for using nuclear weapons from Belarus would be in response to aggression against the country. He emphasized that it serves as a “weapon of deterrence”, and that “hardly anyone would want to engage in a war with a country possessing such weapons”.

Alexander Lukashenko also stated that he would like to avoid situations where nuclear weapons would need to be used. “God forbid, I have to make a decision on the use of these weapons in modern times. But there will be no hesitation if aggression is directed against us,” he emphasized.

On June 13, 2023, Alexander Lukashenko admitted in an interview with the Russian propagandist Olga Skabeeva that he would not be able to independently use the tactical nuclear weapons that Russia plans to deploy in Belarus. He will have to coordinate this issue beforehand with the President of Russia, Vladimir Putin.

“I often hear people say, ‘Oh, he won’t use that Russian weapon without Russia.’ Listen, if a war starts, I’m not going to stand by and watch. Absolutely not. I pick up the phone – wherever he (Vladimir Putin) may be, he calls, and I pick up the phone at any moment. Even right now. So, well, what is the problem of coordinating some kind of strike? It’s not a question! There is nothing to argue about. We’ve already agreed on that. Let the enemies tremble,” Lukashenka said.

In a conversation with Skabeyeva, Lujashenko has also revealed that the tactical nuclear weapons deployed by Russia in Belarus are three times more powerful than the bombs used by the USA in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. According to him, these weapons will be stored at multiple locations.

“We have missiles and bombs. We received them from Russia. The bomb is three times more powerful than the ones used in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. There, over 80 thousand people died instantly, 250 from a single strike. And this bomb is three times more powerful. Well, I don’t know, maybe over a million people would perish at once. God forbid to use this weapon,” said Lukashenko.

On June 15, 2023, the House of Representatives approved in the second reading the bill on people’s militia. According to the statement of Deputy Yevgeny Zaytsev, the bill will allow volunteers to keep weapons with them.

“The law stipulates the storage of weapons with the volunteer. It will be kept at home, and the procedures for storing and preserving this weapon will be determined by relevant documents and a resolution of the Council of Ministers,” Zaytsev stated.

On June 15, 2023, it became known that the capital’s Special Purpose Unit 3214 of the Belarussian Interior Ministry’s Internal Troops, which had been involved in dispersing protests in 2020, would spend more than 10 million budget rubles, or $3 million, for its needs. This is one of the most expensive tenders for military units in recent years.

The 3214 Special Purpose Unit of the Internal Troops of the Ministry of Internal Affairs is planning to spend the most funds on constructing garages and a car wash for their vehicles. The reconstruction of the equipment storage facilities in the unit’s vehicle fleet will cost the budget 6.568 million rubles. According to the documents, the contractor plans to completely dismantle the old building, construct a new one, and provide all the necessary infrastructure, including electricity, water, heating, sewage, and install video surveillance.

The second major construction project is the reconstruction of the building for the car wash, which costs 4.072 million rubles. The process is similar: demolition of the old building and construction of a new one with the connection of engineering communications.

The tender for the selection of the contractor for both projects took place in March. The new buildings are expected to be completed by January 2024. The contractor is “Construction Trust No. 35”. The company has previous experience working on military contracts, such as restructuring a barracks in Pechi and constructing a military settlement in Vornyany.

On June 15, 2023, it was reported that in several settlements near Gomel, local authorities had started refusing to allocate land for citizens` construction to citizens since the spring of 2023. The residents of the Gomel region believe that this decision is connected to the military unit nearby.

As told by one of the local residents, obtaining land for construction has recently become impossible in Pribor, Novaya Buda, and Pioner of the Pribor Village Council in Gomel district. People associate this prohibition with the nearby active military base, which has come under the control of Russian forces.

A journalist, acting on behalf of a local resident from Gomel district, called the Pribor Village Council to inquire about the possibility of obtaining land for construction. One was informed that plots were being allocated in the neighboring Randovka, but “in Pribor and Pioner, it is prohibited”.

“That’s such restriction. It’s connected with the fact that we have a military unit within our village council’s territory. Presently, it is under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Defense,” explained the village council representative.

Near the settlement of Pribor, there is the 1393rd Military Unit, an artillery ammunition base belonging to the Belarussian Defense Ministry. The primary purpose of this base is to house, store, maintain, and ensure the technical readiness of artillery ammunition, small arms cartridges, and close combat munitions. Furthermore, it plays a crucial role in providing uninterrupted ammunition support to the armed forces.

On June 16, 2023, during the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, Vladimir Putin announced that the first nuclear warheads had already been delivered to Belarus.

“We have moved part of this tactical nuclear weapons to Belarusian territory. It has happened. But only the first one. This is the first part. By the end of summer, we will complete this work entirely,” Putin said.

On June 16, 2023, analysts from the “Open Procurements” project, who analyzed the purchases of the Ministry of Defense, concluded that in Belarus, in recent years, there had been a noticeable increase in expenditures on military equipment repairs.

Moreover, the largest portion of the funds was allocated to 22 procurements for the repair and maintenance of weapons and armament systems, totaling 168,997,000 rubles. Aсcording to analysts, “It is hard to imagine that the internal Belarusan demand for such services has grown several times, which means that other equipment, obviously Russian, will be repaired and modernised.”

On June 16, 2023, a reader from the capital informed reporters that sandbags had appeared at the entrance of the Minsk District Military Commissariat, and barbed wire was going to be stretched around the territory. According to the eyewitness, he noticed these “fortifications” recently. The reception office of the Minsk District Military Commissariat clarified that those measures were not related to any combat actions and were part of military exercises.

On June 19, 2023, Alexey Polischuk, the Director of the Second Department of the CIS Countries at the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, stated that the agreement regarding the presence of Russian tactical nuclear weapons (TNW) on the territory of Belarus did not presuppose a time frame.

“As for possible time frame for the presence of Russian TNW on the territory of Belarus, there are no limitations on this matter in the Russian-Belarusian agreements,” he said. “In the current geopolitical situation, the main conditions for the hypothetical return of TNW to Russia could be the abandonment by the United States and NATO of a course aimed at undermining the security and sovereignty of Russia and Belarus.”

On June 19, 2023, Major General Leonid Kasinsky, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Ideological Work in the Armed Forces, stated that the People’s Militia in Belarus emerged as an initiative of the Belarusian people.

“The attitude of people has changed significantly. Moreover, I’ll tell you a little secret, today there is also a lot of talk about the people’s militia. But let me reveal a little secret, the initiative for the people’s militia, essentially, came from the people themselves. It’s a people’s initiative,” stated Kasinsky.

According to him, when “the events of 2022 began” (Note: presumably, the main ideologist of the Belarusian Defense Ministry is referring to the war unleashed by Russia against Ukraine) and “broader issues, threats, and challenges started to be covered”, Belarusians “began to call”.

“There were a lot of calls and appeals. When people said, for example, ‘I didn’t receive a military specialty for certain reasons, or I’m no longer in military service, but I’m full of strength and energy, give me the opportunity to exercise my right to defend the country.’ And then we started working on this issue and formalized it as the People’s Militia. So, it is people’s initiative,” assured Kasinsky.

On June 20, 2023, it became known that defensive fortifications were being built near Zhabinka in Belarus. In the vicinity of the village of Saki (Zhabinka district, Brest region), engineering works have commenced to equip firing positions, including the construction of trench systems and dug-out.

Considering the scale of the construction, it can be concluded that at least a stronghold is being established, which could be part of a fortified area. The distance from the construction site to the city of Zhabinka is 5 kilometers, to the border with Poland – 28 kilometers, and to the border with Ukraine – 47 kilometers, respectively.

On June 21, 2023, it was announced that mobilization exercises had commenced with the military commissariats of the Minsk region, scheduled to take place from June 21 to June 30.

The Belarusian Ministry of Defense emphasized that these exercises were conducted annually as part of the Armed Forces’ training plan with the main objective to assess the readiness of local executive authorities, military commissariats, government agencies, and organizations to fulfill their designated tasks.

Throughout the exercises, infrastructure facilities will be deployed, conscripts and automotive equipment will be mobilized, with a particular focus on staffing military commissariats.

On June 21, 2023, the State Secretary of the Security Council of Belarus, Alexander Volfovich, announced that Belarus was considering the cancellation of military service deferment for students.

According to him, when a first-year student is called up to the armed forces, “He will serve for one year instead of a year and a half, return to the second year more mature and better prepared, and after four years of graduating from the institute, he won’t have to rack his brain whether to join the armed forces or not.”

“The President has stated that it is indeed necessary to consider, discuss, listen to the opinions of people, students, and young individuals, and then make an appropriate decision,” said Volfovich.

On June 22, 2023, the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine reported a slight increase in the number of Russian military personnel on the territory of Belarus. Spokesperson of the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine, Andriy Demchenko, made this statement during a television marathon.

“Russian military personnel continue to remain on Belarusian territory. However, they are more involved in training and preparations. Fortunately, their current numbers are relatively small. We do not observe that Russia has sufficient forces in Belarus to conduct a repeat invasion from this direction,” stated Demchenko.

Demchenko recalled that earlier this year and at the end of the previous year, the State Border Guard Service reported the presence of around 10-11 thousand Russian military personnel in Belarus. “At the moment, we are registering their presence at a level of approximately 1,500 servicemen. Their numbers have increased slightly in recent times, by about 500 people,” he added.

On June 22, 2023, the Pervomaisky Court of Minsk considered a criminal case against a serviceman who was accused of using his position as a commander to “turn a blind eye” to violations committed by soldiers and, in return, extorted money and property from them.

The accused served in the Air Force and Air Defense Forces and held the position of the 2nd Platoon Commander in the Guard Company of a separate Guard and Service Battalion. Apparently, we are talking about the 483rd Battalion (Military Unit 45017) – the only unit of its kind in Minsk.

For some time, the person under investigation performed the duties of a company commander. During this period, he found a mobile phone in the possession of a lance corporal (their use is prohibited on the military base). The commander was obligated to confiscate the phone, report it to higher authorities, conduct an investigation, and brought the perpetrators to justice. Instead, he returned the phone to the lance corporal without any investigation in exchange for an electronic cigarette worth 45 rubles. Subsequently, a similar situation occurred again.

The man was charged with accepting a bribe, including repeated offenses (Part 1 and Part 2 of Article 430 of the Criminal Code), and abuse of power (Part 1 of Article 455 of the Criminal Code). During the trial, the military officer did not admit his guilt.

As a result, the court found the man guilty and sentenced him to 3.5 years of imprisonment. However, as a first-time offender and having a young child, he was granted a three-year deferment. Nevertheless, the former commander did not get away with just that. He was fined 300 base amounts (12,950 rubles) and prohibited from holding organizational and managerial positions for 5 years. Additionally, he was stripped of his military rank “Senior Lieutenant”.

On June 22, 2023, at around 1 p.m., a Mi-24 helicopter made a “hard landing” (i.e. it crashed)  in Baranovichi district of Brest region. The helicopter crew members sustained injuries, but there were no casualties on the ground. An investigative commission is establishing the causes of the accident.

The incident occurred near the M1 highway between Ivatsevichy and Baranovichy. The crash site was attended by the Emergencies Ministry. It is known that the crashed helicopter belonged to the Russian Airspace Forces.

On June 23, 2023, the Deputy Chief of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ukrainian Defense Ministry, Vadym Skibitsky, told journalists that Russian MiG-31K during training flights over Belarus had practiced missile launches not only towards Ukraine but also towards Poland and Germany. The spokesperson emphasized that the MiG-31K aircraft were carriers of hypersonic missiles “Kinjal”.

“The military intelligence has repeatedly recorded that during training flights over Belarus, MiG-31K aircraft practiced missile launch exercises not only towards Ukraine but also towards the territories of Poland and Germany,” Skibitsky stated.

On June 24, 2023, the Telegram channel of the Belarusian Defense Ministry announced upcoming military exercises in the Brest region from June 26 to June 28. The exercises will involve the participation of territorial troops from Luninetsky District and the People’s Militia.

During the exercises, the focus will be on improving the skills of military personnel in commanding subordinates and training the personnel of territorial troops to fulfill their duties in solving territorial defense tasks. During the gathering, they will call up reservists to fill the regular positions, as well as the people’s militia squad, which was formed from volunteers of the district.

They will also practice guarding and defending territorial defense facilities, combating sabotage and reconnaissance groups of the hypothetical enemy, and ensuring measures during a martial law, including the involvement of the people’s militia squad.

On June 25, 2023, Belarus was abuzz with discussions surrounding the outcome of the Wagner Group’s mutiny in Russia. It was reported that Yevgeny Prigozhin had abandoned the “march to Moscow” plan and agreed to leave for Belarus, the criminal case against him would be terminated. The Kremlin mentioned that Alexander Lukashenko, who had a long-standing acquaintance with Prigozhin, had played a pivotal role in providing intermediary services during the negotiations with the head of the Wagner Group.

On June 26, 2023, in Belarus, training exercises with former special forces personnel commenced. 250 former sergeants and officers will undergo a 10-day training. According to available information, the selection was conducted from 600 individuals. “Here are fighters, probably the youngest being 45 years old, and others in the 50-55 age range,”Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs Nikolai Karpenkov stated.

As reported, some of them haven’t handled weapons for 5 or 10 years. The veterans aim to gain new experience and “learn to operate drones”. The training is conducted by instructors with the “necessary combat experience”.

On June 26, 2023, it was announced that from June 27 to July 21, a training gathering would  be conducted in the Soligorsk district with military conscripts of territorial troops under the guidance of the chairman of the Soligorsk District Executive Committee.

During the gathering, the reception of military conscripts from territorial troops is planned, along with their comprehensive support involving the “local base for mobilization deployment”. Additionally, preparations for military conscripts to perform tasks in accordance with military-accounting specialties and designated positions are being planned.

The command staff will have to restore their proficiency in managing subordinates, and preparations will be carried out in the area to conduct territorial defense. The issues of “formation, training and use of a people’s militia unit” will be practiced.

On June 27, 2023, Alexander Lukashenko explained to Belarusian Defense Minister Viktor Khrenin during their meeting how Wagner Group mercenaries could assist the Belarusian army.

“There’s a lot of talk and chatter now, ‘Wagner, Wagner, Wagner.’ People don’t understand that we approach this pragmatically. If their commanders come to us and help us… Experience. Listen, they are on the frontlines – assault squads. They will tell us what’s important now. Putin told me last time: counter-battery warfare, it’s essential. Drones. They’ve been through it. They’ll share about weapons: what worked well, what didn’t. Tactics, armament, how to advance, how to defend. It’s invaluable. That’s what we need to take from the Wagnerites”, said Lukashenko.

On June 27, 2023, the press service of Lukashenko reported that Defense Minister Viktor Khrenin had presented a souvenir – a replica of the first nuclear bomb of the USSR – to Alexander Lukashenko during a working meeting. According to the report, the head of the defense ministry presented the “gift” before his reporting.

On June 27, 2023, during the ceremony of awarding general epaulettes at the Palace of Independence, Alexander Lukashenko stated that Belarus did not build camps for the Wagner Group mercenaries, but if necessary, they would provide assistance with their accommodation.

“We are not currently building any camps. But if they want (I understand they are looking at specific areas), we will accommodate them. Put up your tents, please. Currently, they are in their own camps in Luhansk. As Prigozhin [founder of Wagner Group] told me in a phone call yesterday, someone would sign a contract with the Russian Ministry of Defense, with Shoygu [Russian Defense Minister]. But the most important thing for me was to reach an agreement with Putin so that he would not touch them. He promised, and he keeps his promise. They want to go back to their families. Well, for God’s sake,” Lukashenko said. “We offered them one of the abandoned military units. Please, the fence is there, everything is there. Put up your tents. We will help as much as we can. Until they determine what to do.”

On June 27, 2023, Alexander Lukashenko instructed high-ranking officials of the security forces to determine the algorithm for the use of Russian tactical nuclear weapons deployed in Belarus. This task was assigned to Defense Minister Viktor Khrenin, Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Belarus Viktor Gulevich, and Chairman of the State Security Committee Ivan Tertel.

“The basis of it should be that we have to use it in a difficult moment if we are attacked. Consequently, they will attack the Union State, as they have already begun stating in Russia,” Lukashenko said.

On June 28, 2023, Belarusian deputies adopted on the first reading the draft law “On Ratifying the Agreement between the Republic of Belarus and the Russian Federation on the Establishment and Operation of Joint Training and Combat Centers for Military Personnel of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Belarus and the Russian Federation”.

“The agreement addresses matters related to the organization, establishment, and operation of joint training and combat centers for military personnel from the Armed Forces of the Republic of Belarus and the Russian Federation. These centers will be based on military units of both countries and outline their core objectives and the procedure for cooperation between the defense ministries to ensure comprehensive support for these centers,” stated the lower chamber of the Belarussian Parliament

On June 30, 2023, the Belarussian Defense Ministry announced that another S-400 “Triumf” division had been placed on combat duty. According to the agency’s statement, the personnel have undergone training, mastered modern equipment, practiced skills at the Kapustin Yar range in Russia, and are ready to fulfill the main task entrusted to the Air Defense Forces.

“Today is undoubtedly a landmark day not only for the division, which is going on combat duty today, but also for the Air Force and Air Defense Forces. A unit armed with modern, state-of-the-art S-400 air defense missile systems has taken up combat duty. And what is even more important – this happened on the eve of our most significant celebration – the Independence Day of the Republic of Belarus”, said Major General Andrey Lukyanovich, Commander of the Air Force and Air Defense Forces.

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