North Ukraine troops prepare hellish reception for Belarus invaders

Russia: Belarus forced to ‘plug gaps’ in military

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Ukrainian soldiers in the north have been preparing a “hellish reception” for Russian forces should they descend from Belarus, footage has shown. In a promotional video released by the Ukraine Territorial Defence Forces, members of the 104th Territorial Defence Brigade can be seen partaking in training exercises in the snow – soldiers fire shoulder-mounted rocket launchers, as well as more long-range, grounded missile systems, while navigating the difficult terrain. It comes as tensions within Belarus peaked following reports that Russian security forces may be orchestrating an attempt on Belarussian President Aleksandr Lukashenko’s life to intimidate him into joining the war effort.

Faced with an emboldened Ukrainian force in the south and east, Russia is reportedly looking to increase their presence in Belarus and potentially launch a second attack on northern Ukrainian territories. 

A report by the Robert Lansing Institute for Global Threats and Democracies Studies, a US-based think tank, said: “On the instructions of Russian President Vladimir Putin upon his return from the latest CSTO summit, the Russian military intelligence may attempt in the coming days to pursue a scenario involving either an assassination attempt targeting Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko or its imitation, with the aim of ultimately intimidating the latter and prompting him to finally order his troops to directly engage in the war on Ukraine, alongside Russian troops.”

Russian military leaders, according to that same report, are potentially looking at replacing Lukashenko with the General Secretary of the Collective Security Treaty Organization, who is called Stanislav Zas and “fully loyal to Russia and under GRU’s (Russia’s foreign military organisation) control”.

Lukahsenko has appeared hesitant to send Belarussian soldiers to Ukraine and it is believed these potential attacks on his life, whether carried out or not, are intended to force him into full support. 

In October, in signs that his stance was malleable, he announced some of his troops would form a joint military group with Russian forces to be stationed in his territory just north of Ukraine. 

At the time, he said: “Strikes on the territory of Belarus are not just being discussed in Ukraine today, but are also being planned. 

Lukashenko said he had ordered troops to deploy with Russian forces near Ukraine in response to what he said was a clear threat to Belarus from Kyiv and its backers in the West, though he provided no evidence to back up these claims. 

He said the “regional grouping of troops” had already begun, saying: “It’s been going on for two days, I think.”

Moscow has committed upwards of 9,000 soldiers, and reports estimate the joint force could have as many as 70,000 Belarusian troops and 15,000 Russian troops if it is called up to fight. 

Satellite imagery from November 8 confirmed the Russian build-up, suggesting as many as 7,500 troops and military equipment had arrived in three locations in Belarus. 

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Ukrainian intelligence suggested that number could increase to as many as 20,000 soldiers. 

Earlier in the war, Lukashenko allowed the Kremlin to attack Ukraine from positions in Belarus, as well as permitting ballistic missiles to be launched from Belarussian territory. 

The country’s industrial military complex has repaired combat-damaged Russian equipment, recently supplied Russia 100 tanks and infantry fighting vehicles, and provided medical teams to tend to wounded Russian soldiers in secret field hospitals. 

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