Belarus: Will Lukashenko join Russia’s war against Ukraine?

What mobilization could mean

Lukashenka and his generals stressed that the mobilization in Russia does not mean that the mobilization will also be announced in Belarus.

However, during last week’s security meeting, the president spoke about the problems Russian authorities are facing with mobilization – and why this must not happen in Belarus. Accordingly, he ordered an audit of the military mobilization system.

“We have to carefully call people to their quarters, see how many there are and check all our lists and documents at military registration and enlistment offices,” Lukashenko said.

The Belarusian authorities do not hide the fact that certain mobilization measures are already underway. For example, in late September, the Ministry of Defense announced a “sudden combat and mobilization readiness check” at a major airbase in Machulishchi. This order also involved calling up reservists and removing military equipment from storage. Each time this happens, the Belarusian authorities emphasize that these are “planned events”.

Putin’s mobilization may affect Belarus in other ways. According to Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Malyar, the Kremlin plans to place 20,000 newly mobilized Russian servicemen in Belarus.

Lukashenka at the crossroads

On September 29, Pavel Latushka said that Lukashenka would have agreed to receive 120,000 Russian troops between November 2022 and February 2023, and that 100,000 Belarusians would be called up. “Lukashenka is preparing for a full-scale war,” he said. claims.

In Ukraine, these radical forecasts were viewed rather with scepticism. Representatives of the Ukrainian authorities are convinced that Putin is really trying to bring Lukashenko into the war. However, Kyiv has repeatedly expressed doubts whether Lukashenka is actually going there.

Ukrainian authorities have been wrong in the past when assessing the intentions of the Lukashenko regime. Oleksiy Danilov, secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, admitted that Kyiv was confident there would be no invasion of Belarus – just two days before it happened.

On the evening of October 8, the Ukrainian Ambassador to Belarus was summoned to the Belarusian Foreign Ministry, where he received a diplomatic note stating that Ukraine was planning a strike against Belarusian territory. Kyiv has denied the accusations and said handing over a diplomatic note could be part of Russia‘s plan to drag Belarus into the conflict.

On October 10, Lukashenka announced that he and Putin had agreed on the deployment and training of a regional group of Russian and Belarusian troops.

“Of course, the Ukrainians absolutely don’t need it,” Lukashenko said. “Well, why else would they open a second front on our southern borders and their northern borders? Well, why? It’s crazy from a military point of view. Nevertheless, the process has begun.

The joint regional group of Belarus and Russia was created in 1999: it includes the entire Belarusian army and some units of the Russian armed forces (until 2022, for example, it included the first Russian tank army, whose headquarters were in Smolensk). With this in mind, it is still unclear exactly what is meant by “deployment” and “training”.

One thing is clear: there are plans to redeploy significant Russian forces to Belarus. Lukashenka has already given the order to receive and deploy “more than a thousand” Russian soldiers.