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 August 2023.

In total, for the month of August, we recorded five public statements by Alexander Lukashenko on military matters, ten public statements by the Belarusian military leadership, six cases of weapons and military equipment being tested and put into service, 13 cases of troop movements and exercises by the Belarusian military (and other security forces), as well as Russian forces in Belarus.

Additionally, this monitoring has recorded a number of elements of nuclear blackmail by the Belarusian military and politicians. These include public statements about the deployment of Russian nuclear weapons in Belarus, as well as reports about the reopening of nuclear facilities and the training of Belarusian military specialists who will work with nuclear weapons. In total, we have identified two such elements of nuclear blackmail during the month of August.

On August 1, 2023,

Alexander Lukashenko, during a meeting with residents of the agro-town of Belovezhsky in the Kamenets district, revealed that the Wagner Private Military Company (PMC) mercenaries are located in the central part of Belarus, near Osipovichi, and “have no intention of going anywhere”.

He emphasized that the Wagner mercenaries in Belarus are needed to train the military because “an army that does not fight is only half an army”.

“I don’t want to fight. I don’t want our guys to die. So, we have to educate them. That’s why they are passing on their experience. They will provide advice and share their insights. They are highly satisfied with our soldiers. They believe our soldiers are well-trained individuals, and, most importantly, they are eager to learn. That’s why, while located near Osipovichi in the center of Belarus, these guys have no intention of going anywhere. They are accustomed to following orders,” stressed Lukashenko.

Lukashenko pointed out that he would like to keep the Wagner Private Military Company (PMC) because they were experienced fighters who had been through war and lost many of their comrades. He said, “They provide assistance completely free of charge (although they are mercenaries who have fought and worked everywhere for money) and pass on their experience.”

On August 1, 2023,

Colonel Dmitry Kuchuk has been appointed as the new head of the Minsk Suvorov Military School, and he was introduced to the staff by the Deputy Minister of Defense, Major General Andrei Zhuk. According to the Belarusian Ministry of Defense, during the introduction the Deputy Minister noted that “a new chapter in the history of the School is beginning”

Kuchuk, aged 48, comes from a military family and graduated from the Minsk Suvorov Military School in 1992. He then continued his education in Russia at the Ryazan Airborne Command School and completed his studies at the Belarusian Military Academy. Throughout his career, he has held various positions, including command of the 5th Special Forces Brigade in Mariny Gorka from 2017 to 2020, followed by the role of Deputy Commander of Special Operations Forces.

On August 1, 2023,

Two Belarusian helicopters violated Polish airspace and the Belarusian Charge d’Affaires was summoned to the Polish Foreign Ministry. “On 1 August, two Belarusian helicopters, which were conducting exercises near the border, violated Poland’s airspace. The Belarusian side had previously informed the Polish authorities about the exercises,” the statement reads.

It is noted that the border crossing took place near Bialowieza at a very low altitude, making it difficult for radar systems to detect. For this reason, the Polish military authorities had previously denied that the airspace had been violated.

On August 2, 2023,

It has been revealed that the Wagner PMC mercenaries are building fortifications at the Repishche training area near Osipovichi. This has been confirmed by satellite imagery from the Planet Labs service.

Judging from the photographs, the site is under active construction. The images show the construction of numerous fortifications, probably dugouts. Nearby, objects resembling passenger cars and light grey UAZ minivans can be seen, and bulldozers are in operation. It is highly likely that these fortifications are being built primarily for training purposes, such as training exercise simulating an assault on entrenchments.

On August 2, 2023,

In his address commemorating Airborne Troops and Special Operations Forces Day, the commander of the Special Forces, Vadim Denisenko, spoke of the experience the Belarusian armed forces had gained from Russia’s aggression against Ukraine. Denisenko noted that “from the ongoing conflict in the south” the Belarusian military personnel were “getting a lot of information” and that many aspects were undergoing “fundamental changes”.

“Now we’re revising and introducing completely new elements into the combat training programme that we hadn’t thought of before. They seemed unnecessary then. Now they turn out to be very necessary. If you’ve noticed, it’s all going back to the old style of warfare: the use of artillery, and in large numbers, small unit actions. That’s what we’re incorporating now,” said the Special Forces commander.

He emphasized that the Special Operations Forces were initially built with a system of action by small units: squads and companies. Denisenko announced that in the next training year, the training of Special Operations Forces personnel would go in two separate directions: the training of airborne units and the training of special forces.

On August 3, 2023,

Belarus may be attempting to negotiate with Iran on the production of Shahed kamikaze drones- similar to those used by Russia to attack Ukrainian cities on an almost daily basis. This conclusion was drawn by analysts from the US-based Institute for the Study of War (ISW) following the start of the Belarusian Ministry of Defense’s visit to Iran.

The analysts from the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) have noted that Iranian Defence Minister, Ashtiani, is responsible for negotiations on the country’s military procurement and arms sales. Therefore, the authors write, the meeting between Khrenin and Ashtiani was a result of Belarus’ desire to conclude an agreement on the production of Iranian Shahed drones.

On August 5, 2023,

Eleven helicopters and nine fighter jets of the Russian Air Forces left Belarus. The helicopters took off from the Machulishchi airbase (Minsk region) and flew in an easterly (south-easterly) direction, later being spotted over the Mogilev region. The combat vehicles passed through the Mogilev region and crossed the Belarus-Russia border. Most of them spent 209 days in Belarus (since January 8, 2023). All 11 helicopters landed at the Sescha airfield (Bryansk Region).

It is also reported that 9 fighter jets (Su-34 and Su-30SM) of the Russian Air Forces took off from the Baranovichi airfield during the day. All of them were also headed for Russia. Most of these planes spent 202 days in Belarus, starting from January 15, 2023.

On August 5, 2023,

It has been announced that Belarusian military institutions will provide training for military personnel from Tajikistan. This agreement was reached between the defense authorities of the two countries, according to the Belarusian Assistant Secretary of Defense Valery Revenko.

From July 31 to August 4, representatives of the Tajik Ministry of Defense were in Belarus. Their purpose was to “familiarize themselves with military educational institutions in the Republic of Belarus”. As a result of the visit, it was agreed that military personnel from Tajikistan would be trained at Belarusian military universities. It is currently unknown when the programme will start and how many Tajik military personnel will come for training.

On August 6, 2023,

The Deputy Commander of Belarus’ Special Operations Forces, Vadim Lukashevich, told journalists that the Special Operations Forces of Belarus were changing their approach to combat training and equipping military personnel under the influence of the war in Ukraine.

“As for the special military operation, it has definitely had an impact on the preparation of the Special Operations Forces units. We are constantly analysing the course of its implementation. Like a sponge, we absorb all the innovative approaches used there. Based on this, we shape our combat training. It is with this in mind, we prepare our military personnel to carry out their tasks. With this in mind, we conduct reequipping activities for our units,” stated Lukashevich.

He also stated that servicemen were receiving new equipment. Vadim Lukashevich did not specify any details, other than mentioning the introduction of drones in all units. The Deputy Commander of the Special Operations Forces added that these troops were currently serving alongside border guards, protecting the border from sabotage and reconnaissance groups.

On August 7, 2023,

Channels linked to the founder of the Wagner private military company, Yevgeny Prigozhin, reported on how many mercenaries had gone on vacation and how many were currently in Belarus. It is reported that approximately 12,000 Wagner mercenaries are on vacation.1,500 mercenaries have been additionally transferred to Africa.

“And, of course, there are currently about 7,000 ‘Wagner Group’ fighters in the new temporary deployment point on the territory of Belarus,” the statement said.

On August 7, 2023,

A command-staff exercise involving the 6th separate guards mechanized brigade has begun in Belarus. The exercise will take place in several areas of the Grodno region and at the Gozhsky range, which is located near the Suwalki corridor – a piece of territory between Belarus and the Kaliningrad region of Russia, close proximity to Poland and Lithuania.

The agency said the exercise would practice issues related to the management of troops during combat operations, taking into account the experience of the war in Ukraine, in particular the widespread use of unmanned aerial vehicles and close coordination between tank and motorized rifle units and units of other types of armed forces.

On August 8, 2023,

In Belarus, a command-staff exercise with the 6th Separate Guards Mechanized Brigade continues, which began near the borders with Poland and Lithuania. During another round of the exercise, combat shooting and ambush actions were practiced.

“The exercise leadership has orchestrated a highly realistic and complex scenario that closely resembles real combat conditions,” stated the Ministry of Defense. Throughout the exercise, the units practice command and control issues during combat operations, taking into account the experience of the war in Ukraine, in particular the extensive use of unmanned aerial vehicles and close coordination between tank and motorized rifle units and units of other types of armed forces.other branches of the armed forces.

On August 9, 2023,

The press service of the Belarusian Ministry of Defence has provided details about the training of units from the 38th Brest Separate Guards Airborne Assault Brigade. The exercises are taking place at the Brestski training ground, just a few kilometers from the Polish border.

Belarusian special operations forces are studying mine-explosive barriers, tactical medicine, and providing first aid and self-help for various gunshot wounds. “During the training, the soldiers actively apply the experience of a special military operation,” clarified in the Ministry of Defense.

On August 9, 2023,

It was reported that on the night of August 4th, the body of a serviceman with signs of suicide was found near the ‘Tushemlya’ border checkpoint. The private, born in 2002, was conscripted in April 2023 and was serving his compulsory duty in the Grodno border group.

“The causes of the of the tragedy are being established by the investigative-operational group that arrived at the scene of the body’s discovery,” the border group reported.

On August 10, 2023,

The Belarusian Ministry of Defense stated that over the past two weeks, attempts to infiltrate protected areas and facilities had been thwarted by military personnel of the Armed Forces. The precise number of such incidents remains undisclosed.

“The detained individuals have been handed over to law enforcement,” the ministry stated. Additionally, an operator of an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) who attempted to launch it over the territory of one of the military units has been arrested. “Several attempts to fly air vehicles over secured territory have been thwarted using means of electronic warfare,” the Ministry of Defense reported.

On August 10, 2023,

Secretary of the Security Council Alexander Volfovich stated during a meeting of the Grodno Regional Executive Committee that the leadership of Belarus had no aggressive intentions, offensive goals, or pretensions against neighboring states. He emphasized that Belarus had always been a peaceful country and had always followed a policy of good-neighbourly relations. However, he once again chided neighboring countries for militarization.

“Poland continues to form a mechanized division that will be stationed near our western borders. Two reinforced battalions have already been moved to the border areas. Exercises near the borders of Belarus are also a cause for concern: in Latvia alone, there have been ten major manoeuvres involving military personnel from the NATO bloc in the past two months. Reconnaissance flights from neighbouring countries continue to be detected along the Belarus-Russian border. All these facts raise legitimate concerns,” Volfovich noted.

On August 11, 2023,

A criminal case for evading military service obligations has been initiated in the Brest region against a young man from The Kamenetsky district who is a student at the Higher School of Agriculture in Warsaw. Previously, the young man had been removed from military registration based on a district court decision, following an appeal by his parents. He was studying at the economics faculty of the Higher School of Agriculture in Warsaw and was residing in the student dormitory.

“The regional prosecutor’s office disagreed with the district court’s decision, as the court did not consider all the facts that are part of the evidence in the case,” the agency’s statement said. They considered that there was no evidence to confirm the young man’s permanent residence in Poland.

The decision of the district court was overturned by the regional court. As a result, another check was appointed and this time a criminal case was opened under Article 435, Part 1 (“Evasion from activities on draft to the military service”) of the Criminal Code of Belarus.

On August 14, 2023,

Belarusian Defense Minister Viktor Khrenin has arrived in Moscow for a working visit. This was reported by the press service of the Belarusian Defense Ministry. The head of the Ministry of Defense participated in the International Military-Technical Forum “Army-2023”. As part of the events, Viktor Khrenin met with the Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu. The two sides discussed issues of military and military-technical cooperation between their defense departments.

On August 14, 2023,

The new head of the Brest Border Group, Maxim Butranets, has assumed his duties, as reported by the press service of the Brest Regional Executive Committee.

Maxim Butranets was born in Sverdlovsk, Russia (now Yekaterinburg). He graduated from the Minsk Suvorov Military School and the Border Troops faculty of the Belarusian Military Academy, as well as the Border Academy of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB). He served in various units of the State Border Committee of Belarus and held the position of the Deputy Head of the Gomel Border Group. In July 2015, he was appointed as the head of the Pinsk Border Unit. From 2018 to 2021, he led the Smorgon Border Group.

On August 14, 2023,

Major General Vladislav Budik has been relieved of his position as the Chief of the Main Organizational-Mobilization Directorate and Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the Belarusian Armed Forces. Budik was discharged from military service due to his age, with the right to wear a military uniform and insignia.

Major General Budik joined the General Staff of the Republic of Belarus in August 2022. He was transferred there from his position as the head of the 72nd Guards Combined Training Centre for the preparation of warrant officers and junior specialists of the Armed Forces, a role he had held since November 2017. Budik graduated from the Tula Higher Artillery Engineering School and began his officer career as the training platoon commander. He later commanded the 361st Security and Maintenance Base, and then headed the Combined Training Centre for the preparation of warrant officers and junior specialists of the Armed Forces. He received the rank of Major General in July 2019.

On August 15, 2023,

A new government decree has been published which changes the current procedures for holding military and special assemblies. These military gatherings are categorised as follows: military gatherings for conscripts, conscript training in military-technical specialities, training for the maintenance of reserve equipment, and checking the combat and mobilisation readiness of military units and other military formations (checking gatherings). In particular, the duration of some categories has been changed. For example, while the duration of checking gatherings was previously limited to 35 days, the new decree extends it to 60 days.

The previous document outlined the specific frequency and duration of conscription for military assemblies. However, the new decree has removed the specified duration of military assemblies and focuses only on the frequency of call-ups for such military gatherings. Consequently, it appears that certain some conscripts without officer ranks may be called up for military assemblies more frequently during their reserve service.

The changes also include an increased role for the Belarusian State Security Committee (KGB) in conducting military assemblies. For example, the selection of candidates for conscription to military and special assemblies was previously the responsibility of military commissariats, which could also invite conscripts to update their registration data. Now this task is also carried out by the regional KGB offices. In addition, while conscripts were previously required to report to a military commissariat with their summons to the assembly, the place of reporting can now be the “regional KGB office”.

On August 15, 2023,

Alexander Lukashenko once again raised the issue of deploying Russian nuclear weapons in Belarus in his welcome address to participants of the 11th Moscow Conference on International Security. Lukashenko has emphasized that today there is a new type of weapon that “undermines the system of international trade and economic relations”, specifically various types of restrictive measures and sanctions that have evolved into a “comprehensive threat of global scale”. Against this background, Belarus and Russia are making “maximum efforts to strengthen cooperation in combating transnational challenges and threats of various kinds”.

“By deploying tactical nuclear weapons on Belarusian territory, we are providing an adequate response to the accelerated militarization of Eastern Europe and the increased military activities of the United States and NATO. However, this does not negate the peaceful initiatives proposed by the Belarusian side and aimed at relaunching a dialogue on equal terms on issues of European and global security for the benefit of the whole planet – our common home,” Lukashenko stated.

On August 15, 2023,

China will continue to strengthen the security cooperation mechanism with member countries of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and deepen defense cooperation with Iran and Belarus. This was announced by Li Shangfu, a member of the State Council and Minister of Defense of the People’s Republic of China, on August 15 at the 11th Moscow Conference on International Security.

“We will continue to strengthen the security cooperation mechanism within the SCO, actively deepen defense cooperation with the organisation’s new member Iran, as well as with Belarus, which will soon become a member of the SCO,” said Li Shangfu.

Meanwhile, the Secretary of the Security Council of Belarus, Alexander Volfovich, in his speech at the Moscow Conference, noted that Belarus had been focusing on issues such as “the need to establish multipolar relations, ensuring the indivisibility of security, unwavering compliance with international commitments, and strengthening trust-building measures among States“.

On August 15, 2023,

The likelihood of a direct military confrontation between the East and NATO in the future is growing increasingly apparent, as stated by Belarusian Defense Minister Viktor Khrenin during his speech at the 11th Moscow Conference on International Security on August 15.

“Intensive military preparations are underway in the West, with significant financial investments being made. It is important to understand that in the capitalist world, no one freezes assets in weapons and an inflated army without a reason,” he read from the paper. “Therefore, the conclusion can be unequivocal: the possibility of a direct military confrontation with NATO in the future is becoming increasingly apparent.”

According to Khrenin, today “all the masks have been dropped, and the true intentions of the West are already being voiced by high-ranking officials”. Furthermore, the Minister of Defense is convinced that “certain Western politicians still think in terms of metropolises and colonies, essentially reviving the slave trade in a new form”.

On August 15, 2023,

Sergei Grebennikov, deputy commander of the Internal Troops under the Ministry of Internal Affairs, has announced that mortars, anti-tank systems, and portable anti-aircraft missile launchers will enter service in the Internal Troops. He also emphasized that the Internal Troops had a diverse range of weapons tailored for various tasks and that their arsenal was undergoing modernization.

“At present, we are working to put mortars, anti-tank missile systems, and portable anti-aircraft means into the arsenal,” Grebennikov stated. He clarified that the Internal Troops were forces of constant readiness. According to him, the Internal Troops pay special attention to drones. Grebennikov pointed out the extensive use of drones in the Russian war against Ukraine, which “play a significant role on the battlefield.

On August 15, 2023,

The deployment of tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus is a necessary measure that poses no threat to other countries. This statement was made to journalists by the Secretary of the Security Council of Belarus, Alexander Volfovich, during the 11th Moscow Conference on International Security.

“The deployment of tactical nuclear weapons on the territory of Belarus is a necessary measure that does not pose a threat to the security of Poland, Lithuania, or any other country,” noted the Secretary of the Security Council. “It will only be used only if someone attempts to encroach upon the independent territory of the Republic of Belarus. Otherwise, these weapons will be stored according to all rules and regulations in storage facilities. We hope that it will never be used. We understand the consequences of using these weapons.”

On August 16, 2023,

Li Shangfu, the Minister of Defense of the People’s Republic of China, has arrived in Belarus for an official visit. The high-ranking Chinese military official was received at Minsk airport by Minister of Defence Viktor Khrenin.

It was previously reported that Li Shanfu’s visit to Russia and Belarus would last from 14 to 19 August. He received invitations from the heads of both countries’ military departments, Sergei Shoigu and Viktor Khrenin.

On August 17, 2023,

Alexander Lukashenko met with Li Shangfu, the Defence Minister of the People’s Republic of China. Both parties discussed “the prospects and the deepening of military cooperation”. Alexander Lukashenko emphasized that “the fundamental ideas of China and Belarus regarding the current and future global world order are in complete alignment”.

“We are staunch supporters of a multipolar world. We are staunch supporters of the territorial integrity and unity of the borders and territories established after the Second World War. We stand for non-interference in the internal affairs of states,” Lukashenko said.

He emphasized that Belarus and China relied on a strong economy and powerful diplomacy in their policies. Lukashenko also stressed that the cooperation between Belarus and China “will in no way be directed against third countries”.

On August 17, 2023,

The Belarusian Ministry of Defense announced the ferrying of the first batch of Russian-made Mi-35 helicopters into Belarus by Belarusian pilots. Contracts for the delivery of the first batch of four Mi-35M helicopters from Russia were signed in late August 2020.

“Belarusian pilots are currently involved in transporting the first batch of Mi-35 helicopters,which have been integrated into the arsenal of the Belarusian Armed Forces. These helicopters were were received in accordance with the plan for the construction and development of the Belarusian Armed Forces and through military-technical cooperation with the Russian Federation,” the Belarusian Defense Ministry said.

The Mi-35M is a deep modernization of the Mi-24. Unlike other variants, it has non-retractable landing gear, shortened wing with two (instead of three) points of the suspension arms, a new swashplate (a tool ащк rotor control), upgraded electronics.

On August 17, 2023,

Alexander Lukashenko gave an interview to Diana Panchenko, a pro-Russian propagandist from Ukraine. During the interview, he said that some Russian military units had crossed the Ukrainian border from Belarusian territory. However, he blamed Kyiv for the beginning of the war.

“We’re accused of having contributed to the outbreak of war. No, the war was already under way. And you unleashed it. The Ukrainians started this war against Belarus. It was mainly an economic war. You imposed a blockade on us in the southern direction. You didn’t let our planes through before the Europeans did. You didn’t let our cargo to pass. Furthermore, you even arrested thousands of railway wagons with mineral fertilisers that we were loading here, in the port of Odessa,” Lukashenko declared.

On August 18, 2023,

Belarus celebrated Air Force Day with an aerial parade. Planes and helicopters belonging to the Air Force flew over the Machulishchy airfield near Minsk. The parade included Mi-8MTV-5 and Mi-24 helicopters, an An-26 military transport aircraft, L-39 “Albatros” trainer aircraft, Yak-130 combat training aircraft, Su-25 ground-attack aircraft, Su-30SM fighters, and Il-76MD heavy military transport aircraft.

“The Tu-134A aircraft was presented for the first time during the demonstration flights. It has recently entered the arsenal of our Air Force,” the department reported. There were also parachute jumps with flags.

On August 19, 2023,

The first echelon of the Russian Armed Forces has arrived in Belarus to take part in the Collective Security Treaty Organisation exercises. The echelon with military equipment and personnel arrived at the Brest-Yuzhny railway station. They will be involved in joint exercises with the collective rapid reaction forces of the CSTO “Interaction-2023”, which will be held in Belarus from September 1 to 6.

Information about these exercises was reported as early as June 2023, when negotiations on the organisation and conduct of joint CSTO exercises were held in Brest. At least part of the planned exercises will take place at the Brestsky training area, where Russian military personnel will be present until at least September 9.

On August 20, 2023,

The commander of the 50th Mixed Aviation Base in Machulishchy, Vladimir Skorkin, announced on state television that Belarus would receive an additional eight Mi-35 helicopters from Russia, with half of the batch to be delivered by the end of the year. According to him, the new combat helicopters will resemble the earlier version of the Mi-24 but will be more powerful.

“All the equipment is new. Both our Mi-8 and Mi-35 helicopters will be equipped with a radio-electronic warfare system. Their aerobatic capabilities have been increased and they can be used at night,” explained the base commander.

On August 22, 2023,

From August 22 to September 14, under the leadership of the Chairman of the Polotsk District Executive Committee, a training session will be held with conscripts of territorial troops.

Conscripts of the territorial defense will be accepted and deployed to receive provision support from a mobilization deployment base. They will be trained to perform tasks according to their military occupational specialties, while the command staff will refresh their management skills.

Additionally, a people’s militia unit will be established. The preparation and utilization of this unit will be practiced. The gathering will conclude with a command-staff exercise involving the territorial defense forces of the region.

On August 22, 2023,

Colonel Dmitry Streshinsky was appointed head of the Territorial Defence Department and deputy chief of the General Staff. The corresponding decree was signed by Alexander Lukashenko on August 22. Dmitry Streshinsky previously served as Chief of the Troops’ Service of the Belarusian Armed Forces.

The position of the head of the Territorial Defense Department became vacant in July. Major General Andrey Matievich, who previously held this position, was promoted to the position of the First Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces.

On August 23, 2023,

The Il-76 military transport plane of the Russian Aerospace Forces landed at the Machulishchi airfield at 20:55. This is the first arrival of a military transport aircraft at Machulishchi in the last month.

On August 24, 2023,

The press service of the Ministry of Defense of Belarus has announced that the joint operational and strategic exercise “Battle Brotherhood – 2023” will be held in Belarus from September 1 to 6. The exercise will take place at training ranges and in areas of the Brest, Grodno, and Minsk regions.

According to the general concept, the “Battle Brotherhood – 2023” exercises are planned to include joint and special exercises, combining the preparation of various components of the CSTO’s collective forces. The military contingents participating in the exercises will begin their deployment to Belarus on August 25th.

The Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) clarified that, in accordance with agreements reached during staff negotiations, “the exercises will involve national contingents from Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, and Tajikistan”. In total, more than 2,500 troops and over 500 units of weapons, military and special equipment are reported to be participating in the exercises.

On August 24, 2023,

Belarus has announced an inspection of the combat and mobilization readiness of the 2657th fuel base. The purpose of this event is to assess the ability of the base’s units to complete their personnel, armament, military and special equipment, and carry out their designated tasks.

“Currently, in accordance with the schedule, mobilization resources are being received. Subsequently, the unit will march to the designated area, where combat coordination activities will be conducted,” noted the Belarusian Ministry of Defense.

On August 25, 2023,

Speaking to journalists, Alexander Lukashenko said that as many Wagner mercinaries as necessary would remain in Belarus. According to him, Belarusian servicemen, especially the internal troops and special units, are willingly to learn from the Wagner Group.

“Wagner lived, Wagner lives, and Wagner will continue to live in Belarus, no matter what anyone wishes. Together with Prigozhin, we’ve established a system for the deployment of the Wagner PMC in our country. As for those satellite images showing us dismantling something… Why are we removing extra tents? We don’t need that many. The core staff are still here, some have gone on holiday, others have chosen to live elsewhere. However, the contact details, addresses, passwords, and access codes of this core are known. Within a few days, they will all be here, up to 10,000 people. There’s no need to keep them here at the moment. Therefore, they’re not fleeing anywhere. They will continue to live and work with us as long as we, including certain military units, need them,” Lukashenko stressed.

On August 25, 2023,

During the military exercises in the Grodno region, which took place in early August, an incident occurred in the agro-town of Porechye, located 30 km from Grodno: a tank fired in the direction of the settlement and hit a building of the cadet school. Fortunately, no one was injured.

The combat vehicle was participating in exercises near the Gozhsky firing range. For an unknown reason, the tank crew raised the main gun and fired. The projectile hit the parade ground of the Grodno Regional Cadet School in Porechye, ricocheted, and caused damage to the wall of a neighboring building. There were no casualties resulting from the incident

The military quickly carried out repairs to the building, eliminating the damage. There has been no formal announcement or disclosure regarding the incident.

On August 25, 2023,

In Belarus, the State Military-Industrial Committee (Goskomvoenprom) has announced that small-scale production of domestic strike drones ‘Loitering Tube’ and ‘Quadro-1400’ will commence by the end of 2023. These drones are already in service with the Belarusian army.

Both models were developed in Vitebsk by the construction bureau ‘Display’, which typically specialises in the production of screens, LCD panels, display systems, and similar products. The bureau is currently preparing to launch the production line, having modernised its production facilities and purchased new equipment. The work to put drones into production will be completed by the end of the year.

“In the process of preparing for serial production, efforts are being made to expand the range of target payloads: carrier of aerial bombs, cargo delivery, optical observation station, and radio signal retransmission,” the Goskomvoenprom stated.

On August 28, 2023,

Vyacheslav Hrolovich, the Deputy Head of the Military Education Department of the Belarusian Armed Forces, informed journalists that 97 Belarusians would study at the Russian Defence Ministry’s military academies this year. A total of 97 Belarusian cadets have been admitted to the Russian Defence Ministry’s military training institutions this year.

Vyacheslav Hrolovich has explained that this number depends on the demand for specialists within the Belarusian Armed Forces. Belarusians will be studying at 16 Russian military academies, including five educational institutions in St. Petersburg, as well as institutions in Ryazan, Moscow, Cherepovets, Chelyabinsk, Tyumen, Novosibirsk, Voronezh, Yaroslavl, and other cities.

About 20 individuals will study at the Ryazan Higher Airborne Command School, where they will undergo training in the Special Operations Forces programme. The same number will attend the Mikhailovskaya Military Artillery Academy near St. Petersburg. In addition, two individuals will be sent to study as military conductors.

On August 29, 2023,

Serhiy Nayev, the Joint Forces Commander of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, stated that Russia had withdrawn all its troops from Belarus, but could send them back under the guise of military exercises.

According to Nayev, the Russian ground component has been completely withdrawn from Belarus and is currently in the reserve of the combined group of Russian Forces, which units are on the offensive in the Kupyansk/Liman areas. The Commander also stressed that in September a series of joint CSTO (Collective Security Treaty Organisation) exercises were planned for September on the territory of Belarus, which Russia could use as an opportunity to expand its military presence in the country once again.

On August 29, 2023,

The Belarusian Ministry of Defense stated that Belarusian students studying in Russia could be granted defermentsin case of adoption of the corresponding state programme of our country or the Union State, the implementation of which will be entrusted to the Belarusian Ministry of Education“.

It is also noted that a military service deferment can be granted under Article 32 of the Law on Military Duty and Military Service “in the presence of corresponding instruction from the Belarusian Government or another higher state authority“.

According to the provisions of this article, a deferment for further education abroad can be granted only to those applicants who are sent to foreign educational institutions by Belarusian government bodies. In other words, this applies to employer-sponsored students. Deferments are also granted for the purpose of obtaining military-technical specialisations, completing an internship and passing a qualification examination in the internship specialisation, as well as on the basis of decrees issued by the President of Belarus.

On August 29, 2023,

The Secretary of the Security Council, Alexander Volfovich, stated on the state television channel that the neighboring countries of Belarus do not face any threats from the mercenaries of the Wagner Private Military Company (PMC).

“The accusations that Belarus poses a threat to its neighbors by hosting or providing a place for the ‘Wagner’ unit are pure falsehood. The ‘Wagner’ unit does not pose any threat to anyone. These people, who are currently stationed in Belarus, are only involved in maintaining their professional skills and have contracts to provide instructor services. They work as instructors on training grounds, sharing their extensive combat experience,” stated Volfovich.

He also emphasized that the use of “military professionals to maintain combat readiness and train soldiers” was a normal international practice.

On August 30, 2023,

As reported by the Belarusian Ministry of Defense, another set of the Iskander-M operational-tactical missile system has entered service with the Belarusian army. Judging by the published footage, it appears to involve at least three Iskander batteries.

The arrival of “Iskander” missiles was reported to the “VoenTV” channel by an unnamed lieutenant colonel in a balaclava. The man was signed as the “Deputy Brigade Commander”. He stated, “Another and not the last military echelon has arrived on the territory of the Republic of Belarus with the best-in-class weapon – the Iskander-M operational-tactical missile system.”

The aforementioned lieutenant colonel added that the distinctive feature of the system was the use of missiles, including those with a “special combat unit” (namely a nuclear warhead with a yield of several tens of kilotons). The officer further noted that the personnel of the Belarusian unit had completed a full training course in Russia “for the use of the special warhead”.

As reported by the Ministry of Defense, Belarusian military began full independent operation of the first batch of “Iskander” systems in February 2023.

On August 31, 2023,

Belarusian servicemen from the 120th Brigade have gone for combat training in Russia, which will last for a month. Soldiers from one of the units of the 120th Separate Guards Mechanized Brigade, based in Uruchye, have embarked on a mission to Russia for an intensive combat training course. Over the course of a month, they will undergo training under the guidance of Russian instructors at one of the Russian specialized training centers.

Belarusian military personnel departed for Russia aboard an Il-76MD aircraft of the Belarusian Air Force from the Machulishchy airfield. Later, the aircraft landed at the Kubinka airfield in the Moscow region.

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