Russian War Report: Signs of renewed Belarusian troop movements towards Ukrainian border

As Russia continues its assault on Ukraine, the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab (DFRLab) is keeping a close eye on Russia’s movements across the military, cyber, and information domains. With more than seven years of experience monitoring the situation in Ukraine, as well as Russia’s use of propaganda and disinformation to undermine the United States, NATO, and the European Union, the DFRLab’s global team presents the latest installment of the Russian War Report. 

Signs of renewed Belarusian troop movements towards Ukrainian border

On May 26, Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka ordered the creation of a new military command center in southern Belarus, which borders Ukraine. Russian state media outlet TASS reported on the new command post, saying that Belarus “has to practice defending its southern frontiers quickly.”  

Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense said on May 25 that it had received intelligence that Belarus was taking practical actions to check “the combat readiness” of its armed forces and that exercises were planned at ten training grounds in Belarus, including Brest, Grodno, Minsk, Mogilev, and Vitebsk. “As part of the same exercises, it is planned to remove weapons and military equipment from storage, as well as to carry out marches,” said Oleksandr Motuzianyk, spokesperson for the Ukrainian Defense Ministry.  

On June 2, videos of Belarusian military equipment being transported via railway appeared online. Ukrainian journalist and former presidential spokesperson Iuliia Mendel said the video captures more than fifty units of military equipment being transported from Grodno in the north to Brest in the south. Mendel said the train carried thirty-seven infantry fighting vehicles and anti-aircraft missile systems. However, the DFRLab could not confirm these figures as the video features cuts and transitions that make it difficult to accurately assess the amount of equipment visible.

The DFRLab geolocated another June 2 video of military equipment in transit to an area near the rail station in Baranavichy, in the western Brest region.

Geolocation confirms the Belarusian military vehicle transport passed through Baranavichy. The image on the left is a screenshot from the video, and the image on the right is a stock image taken of Baranavichy train station. (Source: @AZmilitary1/archive, left; alchetron.com/archive, right) 

It remains unclear how many Belarusian forces are being relocated to the Ukrainian border, what their purpose is, or how long their deployment will be. 

Lukas Andriukaitis, Associate Director, Brussels, Belgium

7 comments

  1. I think it would be a strategic and tactical clever move for Ukraine to enter Belarus militarily. It should not do it aggressively, except for speed, but in such a way to give Belarusian military a chance to surrender or to join. This would bring numerous advantages.
    A. Force mafia land to concentrate in a wholly different region.
    B. Force loony from office or make him much weaker.
    C. Allow Ukraine to use Belarus military equipment.
    D. Accept into its ranks Belarus volunteers, and/or use Belarus forces directly as allies.
    E. Attack mafia land from there.
    F. Turn the table on putler, who has been trying to get loony to join the war

    Does Ukraine have enough forces to make such a daring move? I don’t know. This is a closely-guarded secret. But, there Re troops there anyway. I think they would suffice to take Belarus, especially if their army is unwilling to fight tough Ukrainians and if Ukraine goes about “softly”.
    What would the world think? Who cares? This would be a brilliant military move, and that’s what’s important. I don’t think that the closest allies would mind if done in such a manner to spare lives and causing minimum destruction.

    Liked by 3 people

    • It would be an excellent idea, but they just don’t have the manpower.
      Zel says they are now 750,000 strong. Assuming that it’s not a tactical claim, it’s not enough to contain the putinazis and open a new front. Before putler’s Holocaust, they had 240,000, plus reserves and support. I don’t know if the 750,000 includes reserves and support, but I think they need to aim for 1,000,000 combat troops, plus almost the same number in reserves and support, if they are going to succeed and thrive going forward.

      Liked by 4 people

      • Yes, I know. But, Ukraine has troops at the border anyway and I think that it won’t need much to do this. Also, it’s likely that the Belarusians are fearful of Ukraine after how they’re giving mafia land a thrashing. In effect, a coup de main. A swift and sudden attack. No one is expecting it at all!

        Liked by 3 people

  2. I don’t believe Zelensky’s claim of 750.000 soldiers.
    Maybe this is the number that have at some point fought in Donbas or received training.
    I often think Zelensky lives a bit in some fantasy land.

    I think Ukraine has about 300.000 active soldiers. A large part of the Territorial Defense shouldn’t be referred as soldiers. They received minimal training and are basically civilians that will only be fighting once the town they live in is attacked.

    They are useful for sure, but they shouldn’t be considered an integral part of the Armed Forces.

    They are more civilians with military training than soldiers. I respect them though, don’t get me wrong.

    I do not think attacking Belarus is smart, as we do not know how capable the Belarusian Armed Forces are and also I am not sure if the Belarusians will really appreciate it.

    I do think the Belarusian military may be small in numbers, but more effective than the Russian soldiers. I think this because the Belarusian government is generally more effective and organised. Compare roads or social services in Belarus with Russia and you will notice they are much better. I think there is a lot less corruption. (It still is very corrupt, but at least some money goes to maintenance unlike in Russia).

    I do think the best thing to do is not to invade Belarus, but rather conduct small scale sabotage actions, help local resistance and conduct missile strikes on specific targets such as Russian artillery.

    At this point I don’t think the Belarusian military has any appetite to fight in Ukraine and also I think Belarus does not have the economy to support an invasion as they are already near economic collapse.

    I think just waiting to see the Lukashenko regime crumble would be the best approach: his successors are ready and are friendly to Ukraine.

    Soon Belarus won’t be able to pay for salaries and other social services and Russia is unable to help. Then the problem might solve itself.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Zelensky never said that he has 750,000 soldiers. He said 700,000 defenders.
      Belarusian army is no match for Ukraine’
      s army. Ukraine would be successful with such a move if it doesn’t enter as an occupier. This is more than just about loony. Much more. This is about mafia land’s last real ally getting taken by Ukraine. This is about striking at Putler from an unexpected side. This is ab out putting those troops to good use, who are stationed at the border anyway.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Of course it is no match for the Ukrainian Armed Forces, but they can be a pain in the ass as it will open an additional front.

        And they are relatively well equipped for the numbers of soldiers they have.

        The most annoying thing is that Ukraine cannot send its best equipment to the front as Kyiv must be protected at all times.

        Liked by 1 person

        • The equipment and even their training is irrelevant. Their morale is rock bottom, most hate Loony and fear Ukraine’s powerful army. If Ukraine did things smart, working together with the Belarus’ opposition, partisan groups and even army leaders, and sending in special ops troops, this thing could be easily accomplished. Belarus is a ripe apple, ready to be picked.

          Liked by 2 people

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