Belarus has announced a “sudden check” of the response time and readiness of their military reaction forces, part of the larger Armed Forces of Belarus, reported the country’s Ministry of Defense early Wednesday morning. Adding that the test of the reaction forces does “not pose a threat to neighboring countries and the European community as a whole”. In a statement the Belarusian Military said: “It is planned that the (combat readiness) test will involve the movement of significant numbers of military vehicles, which can slow down traffic on public roads,”. Areas of Ukraine which border Belarus, including its capital Kyiv and the Kyiv Oblast, came under Russian assault in the initial stage of the war which began in late February with Russia invading from Belarus, and came following joint drills held by Russia and Belarus. Russian equipment has seemingly disappeared from the Belarusian public now however, DW reports that military hardware is nowhere to be seen at the Belarusian train stations near Ukraine. Residents of Gomel, Mazyr, and other cities say online they rarely see transports of armored vehicles, tanks and other heavy weapons. “It’s usually damaged equipment being taken away that clearly can’t be repaired on site,” said one Gomel resident. This also could be attributed to the at least 10 incidences of reported sabotage in Belarus since the beginning of the war in Ukraine. Some have been officially confirmed by the authorities, and have even been classified as “acts of terrorism.”
As of April 18th though, entry to the woods has been either restricted or prohibited altogether in 10 districts in Gomel Region, and in three districts of Brest Region in the far west of the country. Residents believe Russian weapon caches are being hidden. DW reports that one man, Mikhail, who lives in Almany in the Brest Region, said: “There’s a lot of talk now about how there are still hiding places in our woods and marshlands where the Russian army stockpiled mines and explosives for the war against Ukraine. But something obviously went wrong,” Officially, the ban has been imposed because of a high risk of wildfires in the woods and marshes, but villagers don’t believe this since the spring has been cold this year and with no fires. In Brest and Gomel forests as well, Belarusian soldiers have taken the place of Russian soldiers, “soldiers continue to perform tasks to reinforce sections of the country’s southern border.” said the Belarusian Defense Ministry.
This also comes as the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine announced that since April 1st, internet connections are being disabled for some Belarusians to conceal the movement of Russian military equipment in Belarus. “To conceal information about the movement of Russian occupying troops through the territory of Belarus, Belarusians’ access to the internet is being disabled… This way, the KGB of Belarus and the FSB of Russia are trying to limit the communication of patriotic citizens and prevent the dissemination of information on social networks about the movement of Russian military equipment through the territory of the republic,”. Reportedly, Ukraine says the internet cutoff has been limited to regions of Belarus south and southeast of Minsk.