Belarus launches military exercises near border with Poland, Lithuania and Ukraine

Tuesday, 2 April 2024

On Tuesday, the Belarusian Armed Forces began manoeuvres in the regions bordering Ukraine, Lithuania and Poland.

According to Belarusian state-owned news outlet BelTA, thus, as part of a comprehensive inspection of the territorial defence of Gomel Oblast, a command and staff exercise with the Territorial Defence Forces of the Rahachow and Karma districts will be held from 2 to 4 April under the leadership of the military commissar of Gomel Oblast.

The purpose of the training is to assess the readiness of officials of military units of territorial troops to perform combat training tasks, to improve the skills of reserve officers in the management of subordinates and to teach personnel to perform their duties during the solution of territorial defence tasks. Similar exercises will be held in the Voranava district of Grodno Oblast from 2 to 4 April.

The Defence Ministry also said that from 2 to 26 April, a training camp will be held with those liable for military service of territorial troops under the leadership of the Vilyeyka district executive committee of Minsk Oblast.

"As part of the training camp, the reception of territorial troops liable for military service and their comprehensive support will take place with the involvement of a local base for mobilisation deployment," the ministry explained.

In addition, during the gathering, it is planned to train those liable for military service to perform tasks under military accounting specialities and official appointments, restore the skills of the command staff of the district headquarters and the territorial troops' battalion in managing subordinates, as well as work out the formation, training, and use of the people's militia detachment.

Belarus has been checking the Armed Forces' combat readiness since 11 March. Among other things, signal forces, anti-aircraft missile units, and air defence units are currently being trained. At least 3,000 reservists are involved in the exercise. It is also reported that they involve Wagner mercenaries (part of the mercenaries from the so-called Wagner group, disbanded by the Kremlin, who were supposed to remain in Belarus).

Last week, during a trip to the location of the Belarusian military near the western border, Lukashenko discussed a potential operation in the so-called Suwałki Gap – a narrow isthmus from the territory of Poland and Lithuania that separates Belarus from Kaliningrad Oblast of the Russian Federation – and threatened with his readiness to "resolutely respond to provocations".

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