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 July 2023.
In total, for the month of July, we have recorded three public statements by Alexander Lukashenko on military topics, nine public statements by the military leadership of Belarus, 15 instances of both Belarusian military (and other security structures) and Russian forces relocations and exercises within Belarus.
In addition, this monitoring has identified a significant number of elements of nuclear blackmail from Belarusian military and politicians. These include public statements about the placement of Russian nuclear weapons in Belarus, as well as reports of the deconservation of nuclear facilities and the training of Belarusian military specialists who will work with nuclear weapons. In total, we have identified four such elements of nuclear blackmail throughout July.
On July 2, 2023,
Deputy Commander of the Air Force and Air Defense Forces for Ideological Work – Head of the Department, Anatoly Bulavko, stated in a television broadcast on the STV state channel that three years ago, Belarus had recorded NATO aviation flights in the country ranging from 20 to 30 cases per month at present, there were 70, and at times, there could be as many as 30 flights in a single day.
“We need to deploy new forces and assets because the intensity of aviation flights, including reconnaissance flights, defies common sense. Unfortunately, this can only be explained by a few reasons. The first is the opening of our air defense system. The rhetorical question is: why is this necessary? The second is the collection of intelligence on our military potential. Again, the question arises: for what purpose? The third element is the occupation of airspace by NATO pilots,” Anatoly Bulavko explained.
According to him, three years ago, the number of flights per month ranged from 20 to 30, but then this figure reached 70.
“At times, there have been moments when up to 30 aircraft were in the airspace near our state borders in a single day. Therefore, it’s hard to talk about any norm. The norm is when passenger planes are flying,” Bulavko said.
On July 5, 2023,
As reported by the Belarusian Ministry of Defense, a demonstration of comprehensive tactical and special exercises was conducted at the Brest training ground with one of the units from the 38th Separate Guards Airborne Assault Brigade. During these exercises, Belarusian military personnel used laser weapons.
The training took place at seven training points. They practiced “the correct procedure for occupying and equipping the concentration area, taking into account the experience of special military operation in Ukraine”, as reported by the military authorities. Additionally, they conducted exercises “to work out for forthcoming tasks using laser weapons in conditions as close as possible to combat.” They also exercised combat shooting stage.
On July 5, 2023,
Satellite images from the Planet Labs service have recorded the dismantling of training tent camps at three primary Belarusian training sites, where Russian mobilized soldiers were trained. It remains unclear whether these facilities will be relocated to other areas or repurposed for different uses. The mentioned training sites include Obuz-Lesnovsky training ground near Baranovichi, Lepelsky military range near Lepel, and Repishche training ground near Osipovichi.
On July 6, 2023,
During a meeting with journalists of foreign media, Alexander Lukashenko did not insist that Minsk would have control over Russian nuclear warheads on the territory of Belarus, but pointed out that even when working out less important operations, “the leaders of both countries have numerous phone conversations, meetings, and discussions”.
“The use of nuclear weapons, even if Russia were to decide to do so, I am confident that it would consult with its closest ally. Moreover, it’s us,” Lukashenko said. He also confirmed the relocation of Russian nuclear warheads to Belarus, emphasizing that it was not accomplished via land routes. In response to inquiries about when Russia would complete the deployment of its tactical nuclear weapons, Lukashenko replied, “by the end of the year.”
On July 6, 2023,
In Lida, a 28-year-old man was sentenced for draft evasion despite being beyond the draft age. The above-mentioned man received a military summons two years ago and subsequently left for Russia, where he was apprehended.
In August 2021, a resident of Lida received a summons for a medical examination at the district military commissariat – at that time, he was 26 years old, which meant he was still liable for compulsory military service (In Belarus, individuals can be conscripted for compulsory military service until the age of 27).
The young man decided not to appear as instructed and instead left for Russia. There, he was detained in January 2023 and extradited back to his homeland. The Lida District Court found the man guilty of draft evasion (Part 1 of Article 435 of the Criminal Code) and sentenced him to one and a half years in in a general regime penal colony.
On July 7, 2023,
Leonid Kasinsky, the Assistant secretary of defense for Ideological Work in the Armed Forces and the Chief of the Main Directorate for Ideological Work of the Belarussian Defense Ministry, has stated that the Belarusian Armed Forces are ready to adopt “the richest experience” of the Wagner Private Military Company (PMC).
“We are ready and willing to adopt the richest experience of conducting combat operations and tactical techniques. We gladly embrace this experience for use within the Belarusian army,” Leonid Kasinsky said, responding to the question of how the Belarusian army could benefit from the Wagner PMC’s experience. In his opinion, Wagner mercenaries should also learn from Belarusian military personnel.
On July 8, 2023,
The Federation of American Scientists (FAS) conducted an analysis of satellite imagery of military and railway facilities within Belarus and found no signs of the deployment or transportation of Russian nuclear weapons. This information is documented in their respective report.
Based on the imagery analysis, scientists have identified the construction of a double security perimeter fence around a military depot near Osipovichi, which potentially could serve as a storage site for nuclear weapons. The installation of these additional fences began shortly after a senior Russian Ministry of Defense official visited the facility for inspection, as reported in a сertain classified CIA document from late February.
The report also addresses the potential deployment of nuclear weapons at the airfield near Lida. No visual confirmations of such deployment have been found. There have also been certain assumptions that the Baranovichi airbase, equipped with more modern Su-30SM fighters, could be considered as a potential site for hosting nuclear weapons. However, signs of the necessary upgrades for this purpose have not been detected there either.
On July 11, 2023,
The Commander of the Internal Troops, Nikolai Karpenkov, who attended the combat training of the “Storm” squad, said that three new special forces squads of the Belarussian Interior Ministry’s Internal Troops had been created in the Belarussian regional centers.
The new special units within the Internal Troops are being created “to enhance our combat capabilities during special period”. As per Karpenkov’s remarks, everything is going according to plan, and there are already three squads in operation: “Storm” in Brest, “Typhoon” in Grodno, and “Buran” in Gomel. These units were established in early May of this year, and they are currently fully staffed, combat-ready, and carrying out their assigned tasks, as stated by the Commander of the Internal Troops. The units have recruited contract personnel with a minimum of 3-5 years of experience in the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
The squads have begun to receive armored vehicles, and video from the exercise shows fighters carrying automatic grenade launchers. As per Karpenkov’s statement, they also possess thermal imaging devices, scopes, quadcopters, and unmanned aerial vehicles, which include both reconnaissance and combat drones.
On July 12, 2023,
Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs, Nikolai Karpenkov, informed reporters that the interior troops’ service members were planning joint combat training with mercenaries from the private military company “Wagner Group”.
“Today, we are in negotiations with representatives of the Wagner Group, who will engage in combat training with us and share their invaluable combat experience. SOBR and Almaz groups will continue to come here,” said Nikolai Karpenkov.
On July 14, 2023,
The Ministry of Defense of Belarus has reported that military conscripts from Soligorsk, who are part of territorial defense, are undergoing training near Osipovichi. The training is being conducted by instructors from the Wagner Group, who have arrived in Belarus.
The department showed a television segment showcasing training sessions. In this television story, instructors are seen providing instruction to conscripts on tactical shooting and battlefield maneuvers. As per the plot, these instructors are mercenaries of the Wagner Group, sharing their valuable combat expertise and detailing the nuances of operations in different conditions.
On July 14, 2023,
The Belarusian Ministry of Defense, in collaboration with the leadership of the private military company “Wagner,” has formulated a “roadmap of cooperation for the near future focused on training and experience exchange among units representing different branches of the military”. This was reported by the press service of the Belarusian defense department.
The Ministry of Defense has not disclosed the further details of the “roadmap” but they have mentioned about receiving numerous inquiries “on the issue of the future joint training system for the Belarussian Armed Forces and Wagner PMC fighters”. The defense department has also pledged to continue providing updates on “upcoming work in this direction”.
On July 14, 2023,
Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs Nikolai Karpenkov has stated that the new special forces units of the Internal Troops use the experience of the People’s Commissariat for Internal Affairs (NKVD) in their training. On July 14, Karpenkov inspected the equipment and combat readiness of the new “Buran” special forces detachment in Gomel.
“We are trying to implement the unique and rich experience found in NKVD units, when they identified saboteurs, polizei, and collaborators who were hiding in our forests,” stated Karpenkov.
He noted that the Interior Ministry’s special forces units were capable of executing missions both in civilian clothing, such as surveillance, and in full combat gear, carrying out military special operations.
“Groups like these [in the NKVD], they were called Chekist-military units. It is through close collaboration with the criminal police that we will train units capable of combining the experience of such Chekist-military groups,” Karpenkov stated.
On July 15, 2023,
In the morning of July 15th, a large column of passenger and cargo vehicles with license plates from the self-proclaimed Luhansk and Donetsk People’s Republics (LDPR) was observed in Belarus. The convergence of various factors strongly suggests that this was the column of the Wagner Private Military Company (PMC). It entered Belarus from Russia overnight, near the town of Krichev. The column comprised no less than 60 vehicles, encompassing a variety of types, including pickup trucks, large trucks, UAZ “Bukhanka” vehicles, and at least three buses for transporting people. The column was accompanied by the Belarusian State Automobile Inspection.
On July 17, 2023,
Alexander Lukashenko, as reported by his press service, has signed a package of laws. Among them was the law “On People’s Militia”. He also put his signature on the document ratifying the agreement between Belarus and Russia concerning the establishment and operation of joint training and combat centers for military personnel.
The law “On People’s Militia” regulates the establishment of a people’s militia in various regions of the country in case of introducing a martial law. It outlines the procedure for recruiting citizens into these units, their roles and responsibilities, leadership structure, as well as the rights and social guarantees for the militia members. Under this law, militias will assist the security forces in maintaining a martial law, including they will be provided with the authority to inspect vehicles and and housing, seize cars, detain individuals, and use weapons.
The agreement with Russia regarding the creation and operation of joint training and combat centers for the preparation of armed forces personnel regulates the establishment of such centers based on military units from both countries. It outlines their core objectives and defines the procedure for collaboration between the respective defense ministries in supporting these centers.
On July 18, 2023,
Another column of the Wagner PMC has arrived in Belarus. It consisted of approximately 80 vehicles. The mercenary column was moving from Bobruisk towards Osipovichi and the camp located in the village of Tsel along the M5 highway. It included at least 80 vehicles of various modifications: : 18 trucks, over 20 UAZ pickups, cargo vans, about 20 UAZ “Bukhanka” vehicles, as well as PAZ buses, and several tarpaulin-covered Ural and KamAZ trucks. The vehicles had license plates of the self-proclaimed Luhansk and Donetsk People’s Republics (LDPR).
On July 18, 2023,
Major General Andrey Matievich has been appointed as the First Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the Belarussian Armed Forces. The corresponding decree No. 212 was signed by Alexander Lukashenko. Previously, Matyevich held a slightly lower position as the Deputy Chief of the General Staff and the Head of the Territorial Defense Department.
Andrey Matievich was born on September 2, 1971, in the village of Bolshoye Olzhevo in the Lida District. He studied at the Minsk Suvorov Military School, then graduated from the Almaty Higher Command School, followed by the Combined Arms Academy of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation named after Frunze, as well as the General Staff Academy of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation. He graduated from all these institutions with honors or distinction (with a gold medal or a red diploma). He served in the Main Operations Directorate of the General Staff and assumed the leadership of territorial defense in 2020. In 2021, Lukashenko personally awarded him the rank of Major General, presenting him with the corresponding epaulettes.
On July 19, 2023,
A video featuring Yevgeny Prigozhin was published on Russian military Telegram channels. In the video, the owner of the PMC greets the mercenaries with “arrival on Belarusian territory” and comments on the war in Ukraine.
As reported, the video was filmed during the transfer of the Wagner PMC flag from the base in the Russian village of Molkino to the Wagner mercenaries’ camp in Belarus. Everything takes place late in the evening, but Prigozhin’s voice is easily recognizable. The head of the PMC welcomes the mercenaries to Belarus, stating that they have fought valiantly in Ukraine, “but now, what is happening on the front lines is a disgrace in which we should not participate, and we should wait for the moment when we can fully demonstrate ourselves.”
“The decision has been made that we will stay in Belarus for some time. During this time, I am confident that we will transform the Belarusian army into the second army in the world, and if necessary, we will stand up for them,” says Prigozhin. “We continue to prepare further, enhance our capabilities, and embark on a new path – to Africa.”
On July 19, 2023,
A member of the so-called council of Wagner PMC commanders, operating under the alias “Marx”, has declared that up to 10,000 mercenaries are planning to arrive in Belarus. He also labeled the Russian Defense Ministry’s claim that 33,000 militants had signed a contract with the military as falsehood.
“I can’t tell you from where the 33,000 who joined the Defense Ministry came. Let’s delve into the actual figures: A total of 78 thousand fighters of the PMC Wagner went through our Ukrainian mission. Of them, 49,000 were prisoners At the time of the Bahmut capture on May 20th, 22,000 fighters were killed, and 40,000 were wounded. 25,000 fighters were alive and and in good health, plus the wounded undergoing treatment. Out of them, up to 10,000 are leaving for Belarus.Already, 15,000 have gone on vacation I do not know how the 33 thousand who left for the military were formed. If all those killed and on leave had indeed signed contracts, then such a number might be possible.You can’t argue with that,” he stated.
On July 20, 2023,
As reported by the Ministry of Defense’s press service, the Belarusian Armed Forces continue joint training with Wagner PMC fighters. According to the military department, over the course of a week, special operations units will work together with PMC representatives to practice training and combat tasks at the Brest training ground.
The Ministry of Defense has noted that during the exercises “emphasis is placed on issues related to organizing the joint-force cooperation various types of forces during a fire attack, The use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for reconnaissance and fire strikes, tactical methods for maneuvering on the battlefield under conditions of intense enemy fire, the use of strike unmanned aerial vehicles, tactics of concealing troops and objects, as well as the psychological preparation of military personnel“.
On July 20, 2023,
During his appearance on state television сhannel, Dmitry Shevtsov, the Secretary General of the Belarus Red Cross Society (BRCS) emphasized, “The countries of the “collective West” should understand that Belarus and Russia are genuinely prepared to use nuclear weapons if necessary“.
On July 22, 2023,
As reported by CNN, the US Department of Defense’s intelligence agency “has no grounds to doubt” Vladimir Putin’s statement that Russia has supplied Belarus with the first batch of tactical nuclear weapons. American intelligence officials did not disclose the source of this information but acknowledged the difficulty in tracking the movement of nuclear weapons, even through satellite imagery.
Also, the intelligence service does not believe that Alexander Lukashenko will have any control over nuclear weapons. Furthermore, the US side does not consider that the movement of weapons to Belarus “will alter the global balance of power or increase the risk of a nuclear strike, as it will be stored in a stockpile rather than rather than used on the front lines.”
On July 22, 2023,
The Washington Post, an American edition, has published a recent satellite image of the Wagner PMC base near Osipovichi, taken on July 22. The image was provided by the companies Maxar Technologies and Umbra. According to Maxar’s Senior Director, Steven Wood, the image reveals that “dozens, if not hundreds, of vehicles and equipment have recently arrived at the facility”.
“For instance, in today’s image, it is evident that the field’s central part is now entirely occupied by some objects. The image quality does not allow us to discern the nature of these objects, but with a high degree of probability, they appear to be vehicles. On the 19th, they only occupied half of the green area, whereas now they cover almost the entire space. At the same time, the makeshift truck parking area located to the left of the field seems to have become smaller,” the monitoring group authors write.
On July 23, 2023,
Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs Nikolai Karpenkov revealed in an interview that a special-purpose battalion had been established at the Belarusian Nuclear Power Plant. According to his words, It will be used not only for guarding the station but also for participating in combat operations.
The Commander of the Internal Troops stated that the newly formed special unit should be prepared for apprehending armed criminals and hostage rescue operations, conducting combat operations, tracking and eliminating sabotage and reconnaissance groups, as well as dealing with illegal armed formations.
On July 23, 2023,
On the morning of July 23, the tenth column of the Wagner PMC arrived in Belarus. They were traveling on a new route. The column altered its route, turning off from the M5 highway near Cherikov onto the R122 road towards Mogilev, and then continued along the M8 road towards Bobruisk.
In the column, there were at least 10 units of vehicles: covered KamAZ truck, several UAZ “Bukhanka” vehicles, a Volkswagen Transporter minibus, and no fewer than six wagons. Most of the vehicles had their license plates covered, while the rest either had Russian license plates or license plates of the self-proclaimed Luhansk and Donetsk People’s Republics (LDPR).
On July 24, 2023,
Minister of Internal Affairs Ivan Kubrakov met with mercenaries from the Wagner Private Military Company (PMC). The meeting took place at the Internal Troops Training Center of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. The event was also attended by leaders and personnel of special units.
“The agenda included issues related to collaboration with the private military company and training our fighters by its instructors. Both parties have developed a clear action plan and exchanged views on the use of certain types of equipping,” the Ministry of Internal Affairs press service reported.
On July 24, 2023,
Last year, Lukashenko stated the necessity of arming some of the Emergencies Ministry’s personnel so that they could be involved alongside law enforcement officers in case of conflicts or military actions. The head of the department, Vadim Sinyavsky, announced on the state television channel that not just some, but 98% of rescuers had already been trained to fire their service weapons.
Sinyavsky explained that employees of the Ministry of Emergency Situations were being prepared to assist the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Ministry of Defense “in case of an armed conflict or any mass disturbances that require the involvement of a significant number of personnel“. According to him, the agency is currently receiving additional service weapons and training its personnel, and the overall training is nearing completion.
“98% of the Ministry of Emergency Situations personnel have undergone training in handling service weapon and safety measures for its use,” said Sinyavsky. He emphasized that cooperation with the Ministry of Internal Affairs requires rescuers to use one set of tactics, while for the Ministry of Defense, especially “in various elements of combat situations”, a completely different approach is needed.Therefore, employees are being trained “thoroughly and seriously”.
On July 25, 2023,
The press service of the Belarussian Ministry of Defense reported that the first Belarusian servicemen with more than 25 years of service had received rental housing free of charge for personal ownership.
According to Lukashenko’s decree, state rental housing is transferred into personal ownership free of charge after 25 calendar years of military service. If there are 20 calendar years of military service, such housing is transferred on a reimburseable basis with the possibility of paying its cost in instalments for up to 15 years.
The decree applies to servicemen and persons equivalent to them serving in the Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Internal Affairs, Ministry of Emergency Situations, KGB, State Border Committee, Security Service of the President of the Republic of Belarus, Operational and Analytical Center under the President of the Republic of Belarus, State Control Committee, central offices of the Investigative Committee, and the State Committee for Forensic Expertise, as well as in organizations within the system of these state bodies or subordinate to them.
On July 25, 2023,
Special tactical exercises with service members from military units 7404, 5522, and 5526. were held at the Internal Troops Training Center. Taking into account the risks of possible complications, the trainees carried out actions to destroy the illegal armed formations.
As part of a combat training event, soldiers practiced pursuing, capturing and repelling an attack by an illegal armed group on a populated area.The reserve servicemen acted out scenarios involving fire destruction of the enemy, assault on the building and hostage rescue, as well as organizing an ambush on the path of a vehicle’s movement.
As Deputy Commander of the Internal Troops Sergey Grebennikov explained, the Internal Troops are systematically implementing Lukashenko’s directive and preparing own trained resources “We are continuing the training of special forces units composed of service members, which are being formed for a specific period,” he noted.
On July 25, 2023,
The Ministry of Defense of Belarus has reported that Wagner PMC mercenaries continue to conduct training for Belarusian military personnel from various branches of the armed forces at various training grounds. The training focuses on “ensuring the survivability of troops during combat operations”.
“Not only units of special operations forces and mechanized units, but also units and subunits of engineering troops, radiation, chemical and biological protection troops, as well as communications troops have started to implement the roadmap of joint training,” the agency said.
On July 25, 2023,
The 11th column of Wagner PMC has crossed the Russian-Belarusian border. This column comprised no fewer than 29 units of automotive equipment, including 1 UAZ Patriot, 1 SUV, 6 armored vehicles “Shchuka” (“Chekan”; one with a trailer), 11 trucks, 6 tractor-trailers (carrying 6 excavators and 1 GAZelle on semi-trailers), 2 Ural-4320 (covered) and 2 KamAZ (covered, with the letter Z on the hood).
It’s worth noting that the armored vehicles “Shchuka” (“Chekan”) serve as distinctive transport vehicles used by the Wagner PMC. Previously, similar vehicles in columns of mercenaries arriving in Belarus had not been recorded.
On July 26, 2023,
Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs, Nikolai Karpenkov, revealed in an interview with propagandists that Belarusian Internal Troops continued joint combat training with Wagner PMC mercenaries in order to achieve operational harmonization. Karpenkov emphasized that these training sessions with Wagner PMC instructors were structured to enable Belarusian fighters “to stand shoulder to shoulder” with the mercenaries in combat the following day.
The Deputy Minister has noted that there is a closed communication channel with the Wagner PMC personnel, stating, “We can contact them at any moment, determine what needs to be done, assess the forces and resources, and carry out the combat mission.” The Commander of the Internal Troops has also clarified that joint exercises between Wagner PMC and security forces are oriented towards countering sabotage and reconnaissance groups.
On July 27, 2023,
Alexander Lukashenko has signed decree No. 227 titled “On the Discharge into the Reserve and Conscription for Compulsory Military Service and Reserve Service.” This document outlines the conscription of male Belarusian citizens who have reached the age of 18 by the conscription date and are not eligible for exemption or deferment from conscription, as well as citizens of conscription age who have lost their deferment privileges. The conscription is scheduled to take place from August to November 2023 for compulsory military service and service in the reserve.
Simultaneously, the decree provides for the discharge into the reserve of conscripted servicemen who have completed their prescribed terms of service.
On July 28, 2023,
The 13th column of Wagner PMC mercenaries has been spotted on the M5 highway, consisting of at least 80 units of automotive equipment. At approximately 8 a.m., the column was moving from Bobruisk in the direction of Osipovichi.
According to witnesses, the column included armored vehicles such as “Shchuka” (“Chekan”), fuel trucks, PAZ bus, сovered and flatbed KamAZ trucks, lorries, Ural trucks, pickups, and passenger cars, as well as several trailers, a truck with a manipulator, and UAZ “Bukhanka” vehicles. Some armored vehicles had modified rear sections in the form of a KUNG, on which a cross was painted, similar to those on medical vehicles. Additionally, a gray bus with a red-green color scheme and the emblem of Belarus was spotted in the column.
On July 28, 2023,
Alexander Lukashenko has made personnel appointments in the Armed Forces. Major General Vladimir Kupriyanuk, who is under sanctions for his involvement in Russian aggression against Ukraine, has been appointed as the Chief of the Main Intelligence Directorate and Deputy Chief of the Belarussian Armed Forces General Staff.
Major General Ruslan Kosygin, who held this position until now, has been discharged into the reserve due to age, with the right to wear a military uniform and insignia. Kosygin has led the the Main Intelligence Directorate since July 2020. He was born in Yalta, received his education in Chelyabinsk, and came to Belarus in the 1980s to serve in the military. Meanwhile, Kupriyanuk is originally from the Kamenecki District of the Brest Region.
Instead of Vladimir Kupriyanuk, Colonel Alexander Lavrenov has been appointed as the Chief of Staff – First Deputy Commander of the Western Operational Command of the Belarussian Armed Forces.
Personnel changes have occurred in the leadership of the Main military Inspectorate of the Armed Forces. Major General Andrey Gorbatenko, who previously headed the Minsk Suvorov Military School, has been appointed as its chief. Meanwhile, Major General Ivan Boguslavsky, who formerly held the position of Inspectorate chief, has been retired due to age, with the right to wear military uniform and insignia.
Colonel Dmitry Kuchuk has been appointed as the head of the Minsk Suvorov Military School, replacing Andrey Gorbatenko in the position.
On July 29, 2023,
The Federation of American Scientists (FAS) has analyzed satellite imagery and identified the construction of hangars for Iskander missile complexes within the territory of the 465th Missile Brigade in Osipovichi.
The construction of these hangars commenced in October 2022 and was finalized by April 2023. In a satellite image captured on July 4th, four Iskander missile launchers (or transporters) are discernible, along with two smaller auxiliary vehicles. Notably, one of the missile launchers has an open compartment for missiles.
In its assessment, FAS highlights that the Iskander missile systems and the new hangars for them are located approximately 12 kilometers away from a military depot, which could potentially serve as a storage site for nuclear weapons (near the village of Bolshaya Gorozha to the northeast of Osipovichi).
On July 29, 2023,
The Belarusian Ministry of Defense has announced that, in accordance with a decision made by the Belarusian Minister of Defense, there are ongoing additional intakes of students by the military educational institutions of the Russian Defense Ministry. It is noted that this recruitment is being conducted “in the interests of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Belarus”.
Belarusians are being offered the opportunity to apply for admission to several Russian military educational institutions. These include the Mikhailovsky Military Artillery Academy, the Military University of Radio Electronics, The Ryazan Higher Airborne Command School, the Novosibirsk Higher Military Command School, the Tyumen Higher Military Engineering Command School, and a branch of the Military Academy of Material and Technical Support. It’s important to note that there are limited places available in each of these Russian institutions for the required specialties.
On July 30, 2023,
The press service of the Belarussian Defense Ministry reported that units of mechanized brigades had started joint training with instructors of the PMC “Wagner”. According to the Ministry, the training focuses on unit cohesion, from squads to companies, taking into account the experience of “PMC specialists”.
“The emphasis is placed on conducting combat operations in modern conditions, practicing elements of active defense, as well as addressing battlefield survivability concerns, considering the active use of unmanned aerial vehicles,” the Ministry of Defense statement reads.
On July 31, 2023,
Aleksey Polishchuk, the Director of CIS Second Department of Russian Foreign Ministry, informed RIA News that joint training centers for the preparation of Russian and Belarusian military personnel may be established for practically all types of armed forces. According to him, these centers will operate based on military units.
The spokesperson highlighted that the process of ratification by the Russian side for the agreement on the establishment and operation of joint training centers for military personnel was in its final stages. Belarus completed all the necessary procedures in July.
At present, as clarified by Polishchuk, there is an exploration of the possibility of establishing such centers for virtually all types of troops. They will operate based on military units in both Russia and Belarus.
On July 31, 2023,
Belarussian Minister of Defense Viktor Khrenin embarked on an official visit to the Islamic Republic of Iran on July 31. The visit encompassed negotiations with Iran’s military and political leadership to address “topical issues of Belarus-Iran bilateral military cooperation”.
Following the meeting between Viktor Khrenin and Iran’s Minister of Defense and Armed Forces Support, Mohammad Reza Ashtiani, a memorandum of understanding concerning military cooperation between their respective agencies was signed. Additionally, a bilateral military cooperation plan for the ongoing year was formalized.