Factbox-Russian military drills in Belarus create new threats for Ukraine

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MOSCOW (Reuters) – Joint military workout routines https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/russia-belarus-plan-joint-military-drills-february-lukashenko-2022-01-17 between Russia and Belarus in the approaching weeks will present Russian President Vladimir Putin with new choices if he decides to assault Ukraine and can additional stretch that nation’s defences, military analysts say.

The “Allied Resolve” manoeuvres will happen close to Belarus’ western border with NATO members Poland and Lithuania and its southern border with Ukraine. Russia already has tens of 1000’s of troops to the north, east and south of Ukraine, though it denies any intention to invade.

NEW FRONT, NEW THREATS

The deployment of Russian forces in Belarus creates a new potential entrance line for Ukrainian military planners to fret about, mentioned Konrad Muzyka, director of the Poland-based Rochan consultancy. Reinforcing that space will imply spreading troops thinner elsewhere and diverting forces from positions going through southwest Russia, the Russian-backed Donbass area in japanese Ukraine that Kyiv misplaced management of in 2014 and the Crimean peninsula that Russia seized from Ukraine that 12 months. “They haven’t got sufficient manpower in order that they’ll should make decisions,” mentioned Muzyka.

From Belarus, Russian troops can be a lot nearer to Ukraine’s capital Kyiv – the gap from there to the border with Belarus is simply over 90 km (56 miles) at its closest level. If Russia deploys long-range multiple-launch rocket methods to Belarus, they might be capable of strike targets close to Kyiv with out even getting into Ukraine, mentioned Rob Lee, a military analyst and a fellow on the U.S.-based Foreign Policy Research Institute.

Moscow might additionally deploy digital warfare methods from Belarus to attempt to disrupt communications out of Kyiv, together with radar or satellite tv for pc, if Russia invaded, Lee mentioned.

WHAT MINSK AND MOSCOW ARE SAYING

Belarus and Russia say the drills will participate in two phases and follow repelling an exterior assault. Belarusian chief Alexander Lukashenko mentioned the drills had been wanted due to military buildups in Ukraine, Poland and the Baltic states.

The first part, centered on quickly redeploying forces, organising the defence of necessary websites, border defence and assessing air defence capabilities, is already beneath method and can run till Feb. 9. The second part from Feb. 10-20 will deal with reinforcing sections of the state border towards infiltration by armed teams or arms deliveries, and discovering and destroying unlawful armed formations and enemy sabotage and reconnaissance teams.

WHAT’S BEING DEPLOYED

Belarus mentioned on Monday that Russian forces had been already arriving. Hardware is being transported to Belarus by rail from Russia’s Eastern Military District 1000’s of miles away, the Defence Ministry’s Zvezda TV channel mentioned. Russia mentioned on Tuesday that 12 SU-35 fighter jets, two divisions of S-400 air defence methods and a division of Pantsir-S air defence methods had been being transported.

It’s not publicly identified what forces and {hardware} can be deployed in whole. Belarus state media have proven practice a great deal of gear arriving.

Muzyka mentioned he believed that from seven to 10 battalion tactical teams, which usually quantity between 700-900 troops, had just lately left Russia’s Eastern Military District. He mentioned it could be logical for them to be deployed in the identical place – in this case Belarus – as a consequence of their single command construction.

Basing estimates on open-source intelligence evaluation, he mentioned it appeared just like the {hardware} being transported was largely accompanied by a skeleton workers, together with individuals wanted for upkeep on the autos in the sphere.

(Reporting by Tom Balmforth; Editing by Mark Trevelyan and Timothy Heritage)



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