On February 24th, 2022, several dozen Russian assault support aircraft took off from airfields in Belarus to deliver approximately 1,000 VDV troops just outside of Kyiv. At least 7,000 Russian Ground Forces troops also crossed into Northern Ukraine from the “neutral” country over the course of the first 72 hours as well. However, since the strategic realignment in April, Belarus has been home to mostly Russian Aerospace Forces (VKS) concerned with airspace protection via surface-to-air (SAM) missiles. However, over the past 72 hours about 1,000 Russian Ground Forces troops, and now aircraft have been redeployed to Belarus to form the Belarusian Grouping of Forces.
As this publication covered yesterday, the Lukashenko regime seems to be preparing mass conscriptions and has received the first tranche of Russian troops to form this task force. However, in a major escalation, Russian VKS Mig-31s were spotted flying over the capital, Minsk today, eventually landing at Machulishchy airfield. Six were spotted, armed with Kh-47 Kinzhal missiles. This is the first time that tactical aircraft (not assault support helicopters) have been based in Belarus since the conflict began, signaling a serious deployment of forces from Russia.
According to the Belarusian Ministry of Defense, about 9,000 Russian troops will deploy to Belarus to spearhead the new grouping, which has been tasked with “countering terrorist threats” in the country from Poland and Ukraine. Assistant Minister Valery Revenko was the source. He also told his Twitter followers that they can expect more Russian VKS forces to deploy to support this grouping of forces. The below video also shows the arrival of several support vehicles, self-propelled artillery, infantry fighting vehicles, and other supplies in Minsk.
The transfer of military equipment with new tactical signs was noticed near Minsk, Belarus. pic.twitter.com/a40UTGfkhn
— UkraineWorld (@ukraine_world) October 16, 2022