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The BISR expert explains why Belarus should change the National Security Concept

Andrei Chernobay, Military Analyst at the Belarusian Institute of Strategic Research explained in "In fact: Decisions of the First" project of the YouTube BELTA channel how challenges and threats have transformed recently and why, therefore, it is necessary to alter the national security concept.

The expert is convinced that national security concept update is objectively overdue. The current version of the document was adopted more than 10 years ago and was followed by significant changes since that time both in Belarus and in worldwide: the relationship between the global centers of power, – the United States, Russia, China, NATO countries, – has become completely different.

When the previous national security concept was adopted, no one could know there would be Ukraine of 2014 and 2022, Andrei Chernobay noted. In his opinion, no one could predict the aggravation over Taiwan, which occurred this year. "It seemes as if Taiwan, China are far away. But China is our main geostrategic ally, accordingly, its geopolitical well-being is also very important for us," the military analyst said.

He drew attention to the significant transformation of threats to the national security of Belarus: new challenges and threats have emerged, in particular, the 2020 pandemic, the migration crisis (Belarus has always been a transit country for migrants, but not on the scale which happened in 2021), labor migration of citizens of our country to neighboring countries.

It is also important that recently, the international legal and contractual system which provided for control over weapons and allowed maintaining security in the region, Europe, and the world, has practically collapsed, the expert stressed. This year, the United States and NATO practically voided the validity of the 1997 NATO-Russia Founding Act.

"Military threats have become completely different. We see how the NATO bloc is expanding. Since the Concept came in force, it seems that only two countries have joined NATO, – Montenegro and North Macedonia. But we see that process of Sweden and Finland admission is underway. We should not forget this is the Baltic, the Arctic. Under conditions of sanctions pressure, we have to use Russian ports both on the Baltic Sea and the Northern Sea route to deliver our goods and products to China as well," Andrei Chernobay said.

He drew attention to the fact that the United States has significantly strengthened its military presence in Europe - up to 100 thousand or more troops amid a special military operation in Ukraine. "And, about three-fifths of this number are on a permanent basis," the military analyst said. "Since 2014, the United States has been conducting Operation Atlantic Resolve, and US troops are on a rotational basis in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe. Since 2017, in 4 countries (Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, Estonia), the expanded forward presence of NATO, multinational battalion groups of troops (deployed in these countries. - BELTA). After the Madrid NATO summit in June of this year, there were 4 more such groups – Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia. Moreover, it was decided to increase them from the level of battalion groups to brigade groups."

The expert also focused on the build-up of military infrastructure in the Baltic States: "We know that three military camps are being practically rebuilt in Lithuania: in Pabradė , Kazlų Rūda and Kalvarija. On October 4-5, German troops of the 41st Tank Brigade arrived in Lithuania. They will conduct exercises together with the Lithuanian armed forces."

Similar work is implemented with infrastructure facilities in Latvia and Estonia – they are also preparing to receive NATO troops in an expanded number - brigades and divisions, Andrei Chernobay stressed.

"We see what processes are taking place in Poland. Early this year, the number of armed forces was approximately 120 thousand people. The task is to increase this number to 300 thousand. Moreover, only military personnel – about 250 thousand people, that is, twice", he gave a number of examples. "Recently, a contract was signed (the largest in the history of Poland, for $15 billion) with South Korea. Poland buys about 1 thousand K2 tanks (the most modern tanks in the world at the moment) in that country, about 800 K9 howitzers, about 50 aircrafts that can be called multipurpose." Also, according to him, a contract has been signed to supply Poland with 250 Abrams tanks manufactured by the United States, and F-35 aircrafts. Thus, Poland is going to increase its military spending to 3% of GDP in 2023, and in the future to 5% of GDP, the expert says.

He stressed that the forms and methods of warfare have changed recently: "We see by the example of the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh, special military operation in Ukraine, what role is given to precision weapons, multiple launch rocket systems, drones."

"Of course, all these issues must be taken into account in the military construction of the Republic of Belarus," the military analyst stressed, adding that the importance of the country's military-industrial complex should be reinforced. He is convinced that the special operation in Ukraine has made it clear how important it is to have its own base for the production of weapons, military equipment, ammunition, how important it is to have stocks of both. "Of course, the morale of the population and military personnel is critical. The highest manifestation of patriotism of citizens is the readiness to defend their Fatherland with weapons in their hands. Not just pride in the country, for having a passport of a particular state, but readiness to protect it," Andrei Chernobay said.