The Belarusian Defence Ministry has announced an emergency combat readiness check – launched at the behest of Alyaksandr Lukashenka, Zerkalo portal reported on Monday, citing a press release from the ministry.
“The actions will be comprehensive; troops will have to move as soon as possible to the designated areas, move engineering equipment there, organise protection and defence, and build bridges across the Neman and Berezina rivers,” the statement said.
Belarus deploys armed forces closer to the Ukrainian border
Belarusian military has launched snap combat readiness drills moving military gear closer to the northwestern border of Ukraine, acc. to Belaruski Hayun OSINT group.
— Euromaidan Press (@EuromaidanPress) December 13, 2022
It also noted that “temporary restrictions on the movement of people on certain public roads and territories” are planned due to relocation of personnel and military equipment.
Last week, the Belarusian Security Council conducted a two-day test of its response in case of threat of terrorist attacks.
??The Ministry of Defense of Belarus reported that the army's combat readiness checks are defensive in nature. pic.twitter.com/CngRljkjMq
— AZ ???? (@AZgeopolitics) December 13, 2022
Although Belarusian forces have not supported Russian troops in the invasion of Ukraine, Lukashenka allowed for Belarusian territory to be readily available and it was from this direction that the assault on the north of Ukraine, including the Kyiv region, was carried out in late February.
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Russian units moreover launched their rocket fire on Ukrainian cities, including civilian facilities, from Belarus. In September and October, came reports from the Ukrainian side of Iranian drone attacks being carried out from Belarus. At the beginning of October, Lukashenka announced the creation of a regional military grouping in Belarus, formed jointly with Russia.
Ukraine keeping an eye on the situation
“For the time being, we do not see any activities of Russian or Belarusian subdivisions at the border. Of course, the announcement of a combat readiness control of the Belarusian army is an additional challenge. We will monitor the development of the situation, including how close these subdivisions will approach the border with Ukraine,” Ukraine’s border guard spokesman Andriy Demchenko said.
The military officer highlighted that there is no need for panic. “For us, this does not change anything. We have already warned that Belarus and Russia may be preparing to increase tensions, which we are constantly observing, through manoeuvres, the deployment of forces of the Regional Military Grouping, and now also through a combat readiness test,” he added.
The spokesman emphasised how the Ukrainian side ought to do whatever is necessary to ensure that its border is safe and ready to repel “any aggression, any attack by subdivisions that try to enter our territory with war.”