Amid the ongoing battles on the eastern and southern Ukrainian front lines, the situation in the north of the country also remains tense. Amid the close cooperation between the Russian and Belarusian military, Kiev is obliged to keep a close eye on its northern borders.
At the moment, Russian servicemen are training at the training grounds in the Republic of Belarus. Russian specialists in communications, electronic warfare and servicemen of the engineering units of the Western Military District continue intensive combat training in the country.
Earlier, Moscow and Minsk decided to deploy the Russian military group in Belarus in order to strengthen its border security. It includes 9 thousand Russian servicemen. The first echelons with equipment and personnel began arriving in the country in mid-October.
Such a small grouping do not pose any threat to Ukraine and the military drills are not a sign of any significant military escalation amid the ongoing hostilities. The armed forces of the two countries have always closely cooperated and Minsk is unlikely to get involved in the Ukrainian war at least until the military of NATO member states enter the Ukrainian territory.
Belarus has no plans to “get involved” in any conflict, but is preparing to defend its own territory, said the country’s Defense Minister Viktor Khrenin on November 19.
At the same time, the risk of another Russian assault from the territory of Belarus, including towards the Ukrainian capital Kiev, remains high. This threat forces the Ukrainian military keep significant forces deployed along the northern borders instead of sending them to the front lines in other regions.
After Russian forces withdrew from the Kiev and Chernigiv regions, the Ukrainian military blew up almost all road and railway bridges on the border with Belarus and mined all mined roads in the area. Fighters of the Ukrainian territorial defense were deployed in the border area along the border guards.
Ukrainian have recently began the construction of a concrete fence with barbed wire along the border with Belarus. The height of the concrete fence is 3-4 m, it was erected at a distance of 10-15 m from the border. Ukraine has set up observation posts along the reinforced concrete fence.
Such a wall will allow Kiev to secure the northern border. At the same time, it will decrease the number of military personnel needed to guard the frontier and more fighters will be sent to the eastern and southern front regions to fight on the front lines. This seems to be a necessary measure amid the heavy losses of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
However, the ongoing operations of the Ukrainian military along the Belarusian border are not exclusively defensive in nature. The mistakes and intentional provocations of Ukrainian forces have recently increased as well as the risk of hostilities.
On November 19, an armed Ukrainian serviceman crossed the Belarusian border with unclear goals. The incident led to no military or political consequences.
“The incident took place yesterday, November 19, at about 16:00. A video camera at the railway checkpoint “Slovechno” recorded the movement of an armed man on the territory of Ukraine in the direction of the border. Subsequently, he illegally crossed the border passing through the center of the railway bridge and entered the territory of Belarus,” the report of the Border Committee of Belarus reads. “While on the Belarusian territory, the Ukrainian serviceman was taking photos and videos of the area, as well as looking for or installing something in the snow.”
Another incident took place on November 20. A reconnaissance and sabotage group of the 71st jaeger brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine crossed the state border with Belarus in the area of Denisovichi. On the evening, the group contacted the Ukrainian control point from the area of the Polessky Reserve.
Another Ukrainian reconnaissance group was operating a few kilometers north of the Yakovetsky forest area and tracked the movement of military personnel of the Armed Forces of Belarus and Russia.
Earlier, several Ukrainian UAVs have been intercepted by Belorussian border guards. LINK
the northern Ukrainian front lines remain calm so far. However, any incident may inflame the hostilities which will involve new warring sides.
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