The South requires special attention
Modernizing Belarusian army is a continuous process. Its course was discussed in the Ministry of Defense. There, the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko declared the idea of creating a Southern Operational Command. The goal is to stop threats from a direction that we have always considered friendly, but recently neighbors are not tired of convincing us of the opposite by their behavior. This has to be taken into account.
— Unfortunately, a new direction, a new front, as we usually say, has opened, and we cannot but pay attention to this. We have already talked about this in the first approximation. At that time, the Defense Minister suggested that we open another operational command — on the southern flank, the southern direction of our country. That was last year. We realised at that time that something had to be done, but time has pushed us so dynamically and quickly to the fact that we must immediately create this operational direction. Along with the western, north-western, there will be the southern wing.
May 26, 2022,
Alexander Lukashenko at the Ministry of Defense
meeting on military security.
We have drawn certain lessons from Ukrainian events, and we have clear vision at the moment of what our army, its development and equipment, should be. The emphasis is on mobility in order to put a direct and irreparable strike to the aggressor in case of a threat. Meetings with the military and security forces in general have long been mandatory in the presidential timetable. Recently, the state defense order has been discussed. And here's another serious talk. Everything with the focus on "here and now": modern weapons, new forms and methods of warfare with unpleasant to the common man remark "if suddenly it happens here".
As Alexander Lukashenko noted, the events being the case in the adjacent state indicate the high dynamics of changes in threats to the country's military security. Views on the use of military force and methods of armed struggle are being transformed. Indeed, until quite recently, the idea of modernization of the Belarusian army was somewhat different, but the events taking place in Ukraine make us to consider the issue in a different dimension. The past three months of military special operations by Russian troops have demonstrated the need for adjusting plans in this regard. As our President often says, this is not going to be quiet. If in 2020 they wanted to use us as a springboard for a further attack on Russia, now, there are statements of actual direct aggression. At the same time, there are continuing attempts to get back at economic and trade relations. And this will be a long process, Alexander Lukashenko is sure.
Intelligence and response
The true goals of NATO's activities near our borders are very clear — this is, in fact, intelligence and study, which cannot be excepted, of the theater of combat operations in the future. According to the President, military pressure on Belarus will be exerted through Poland, Latvia, Lithuania and NATO troops stationed there, as well as through maintaining the escalation of hostilities in Ukraine.
The increased presence of the North Atlantic Alliance at our borders, and, according to experts, it is already about 40,000 military plus an aviation group and enhanced intelligence, doesn't evoke much calm. The situation has pushed us to the need to immediately create a new Southern Operational Command.
The border in tension
Creating the Southern Operational Command is a forced measure, Andrei Chernobay, military analyst at the Belarusian Institute of Strategic Research, says At the moment, we have two operational commands — Western and North-Western, control the corresponding parts of the border. For many years it was quiet on the border with Ukraine and we shared an amicable relationship. But since certain time, the policy of our southern neighbor has changed dramatically, which led to emergence of specific risks and threats to the security of Belarus. In recent months, we have been forced to strengthen the protection of the state ¬border with Ukraine at the expense by additional military units. But these divisions have their own tasks they must perform first of all.
Creating the Southern Operational Command will equalize the situation, since there will be specific forces and means involved exclusively in strengthening the southern direction. This will result in reliable protection of the state from three sides, and people residing in areas adjacent to the new direction will feel more secure. The possibility of unpredictable actions of top officials in the adjacent territory has been the reason for strengthening not only the land state borders, but protecting airspace as well. We should be prepared for subversive groups. In general, the presence of military units along the southern borders will be a factor of strategic deterrence of aggression from beyond.
The recent development of relations between Poland and Ukraine may cause new challenges and threats to Belarus and Russia in the future, military expert Igor Chibisov believes. Such risks increase significantly in the case of changeover of the western part of Ukraine to Polish jurisdiction. If this projection becomes a reality, then we mustn't forget the important . The territories over which Warsaw lost control in 1939 included Western Ukraine and Western Belarus as well. No doubt, in case of occupation of these Ukrainian lands, the appetite of the Polish side will not go down. In this scenario, Poland can send at least two of the four of its army divisions to Ukraine, and actively involve the air force and special operations troops. In total, with supply and support units, such a contingent can be up to 50,000 people. A notable fact: during the visit of the Polish president to Ukraine, Zelensky announced unprecedented measures, allowing Polish police officers to implement law enforcement functions in Ukraine, and Polish citizens to manage entire regions of the country. The indicent of sovereignty: not separatists, but the president himself transfers the rights of citizens of his own state to foreign citizens without granting them the appropriate status.
One step ahead
It is possible that the invasion of Polish troops into Ukraine may begin in the event of a complete collapse of the American government or if the Anglo-Saxons approve this aggression, Igor Chibisov believes. We should not forget that during attempted coup d'état of Belarus in 2020 Kiev took a hard stance against the legitimate Belarusian authorities, and today continues to send subversion and reconnaissance groups to our territory. Why, after all, are tens of thousands of military personnel concentrated in the Rivne and Chernihiv directions, near Belarusian borders?
Historically, Belarus was mostly attacked from the West, but today aggression may come from the South, and, the worst, from the territory of the Slavic brothers. The decision of our Commander-in-Chief to create the Southern Operational Command is both right and very timely.
This is a complex task to respond to threats to our national security, which provides for the creating not only military command and control bodies, but also an appropriate armed group in the southern direction. With regard to the strengthening of the southern borders, the territorial defense system is of particular importance. Its troops are involved only during the war or at a time of constrained military-political situation. Moreover, Igor Chibisov is sure that 80,000 reserve and retired officers of the Armed Forces and security agencies can become the most serious potential. This experienced contingent can be safely used as a basis for formation of ¬territorial defense troops and people's militia.
It is clear that we cannot abstract from all the ongoing processes, but we are quite able to put a a reliable shield against threats. We have to defend ourselves in the information field, where the situation is literally sparking, and the hybrid war with its cyber attacks and attempts to ruine the economy is already our reality. The situation in the region is that it's not about to improve. Moreover, the aggravation of the outward situation obliges to be one step ahead.
INTO THE THEME
Alexander Shpakovsky, political analyst: — It's not about Polish troops in Ukraine at the moment. The draft law on the special legal status of Polish citizens in Ukraine provides for the possibility of Polish police forces to implement law enforcement activities on the territory of Ukraine. Among other benefits that can be granted to Poles. We realize that doing this may free forces and means of the National Guard, which now maintains law and order in Western Ukraine. These forces and means can be sent for combat in the Donbass.