The Belarus Ministry of Defense has announced that additional Russian forces will begin to arrive in-country “in the next few days,” which are part of a “joint military task force” that was announced by Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko on Monday.
Lukashenko had accused Ukraine of planning attacks against Belarus while the Belarus Ministry of Defense stated that “In case we are attacked. If at least one meter of Belarusian land is subjected to aggression. As the commander-in-chief said, the response will be instantaneous and harsh. This is why we once again caution you against provocations. You don’t want a war with us. We don’t want a war either,” according to the state-owned media agency BelTA.
It appears that the task force will be deployed directly on the Ukrainian border with Belarus, according to travel restrictions.
"Prohibitions and restrictions" on visiting forests introduced in 12 southern regions of Belarus, state media report
This usually happens when there are army maneuvers etc pic.twitter.com/DpKGmW694y
— Faytuks News ? (@Faytuks) October 14, 2022
The past several weeks has already seen an increase in Russian aircraft being transferred to Belarus amid partial mobilization efforts. Likewise, independent Belarusian media outlet Nasha Niva has reported that partial mobilization efforts are also underway in Belarus, mainly focused on rural areas of the country.
??Possible Z forces convoy seen in Belarus 20km for Ukrainian border this afternoon.
Not 100% who they belong to but most likely Russia. pic.twitter.com/NxpKJ4md3i
— War Monitor (@WarfareReports) October 14, 2022
Belarus served as a primary staging area for Russian forces at the beginning of the invasion, where VDV forces launched their air assault against the Hostomel Airport and Russian ground forces opened up a front against Kyiv. Before Russian troop withdrawal from the area following weeks of stagnated fighting, Belarus also served as a launching point for Russian air and missile strikes against northern Ukraine.
Belarusian troops, however, have not been used in combat or directly involved in the invasion. There are many speculations for Belarus and Russia’s intentions with the newly formed task force. One such, which has been deemed the most likely, is that the buildup of troops will be used to pressure Ukraine in diverting forces from its counter offensives in Kharkiv and Kherson. There is also speculation that the task force will be used to open a renewed front against Kyiv, which Ukraine has been preparing for for months. While addressing G7 leaders earlier this week, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that “Russia is trying to directly involve Belarus in this war, playing a provocation with the fact that we are allegedly preparing an attack on this country.”