Belarus has begun unannounced military exercises to practice “liberating territory temporarily seized by the enemy” and regaining control over border regions, the Belarusian Defence Ministry stated.
The manoeuvres which began on 8 September are taking place in the country’s regions bordering Ukraine and Poland and in its Minsk and Vitebsk regions.
The defence ministry did not state the number of troops involved however it said the “number of troops participating in the command and staff exercise, the involved weapons and military equipment does not exceed the level subject to mandatory notification in accordance with the Vienna Document 2011.”
The Kyiv Independent reported that Deputy Chief of Ukraine’s General Staff Oleksii Hromov said the drills will allegedly focus on taking parts of Ukraine that Belarus deems so-called “lost territories.” However, Hromov said the chance of a Belarusian offensive into Ukraine remains low.
UK Defence Intelligence states that there are no indications that Russia’s ally Belarus is preparing for involvement in the Ukraine war and that:
“Belarusian forces have limited offensive capabilities and there is a remote chance that they have deployed forces into Ukraine.”
“It is highly unlikely that these exercises are an indication of preparations for direct Belarusian involvement in the Ukraine war.”