Monday, December 12, 2016

Will Russia occupy Belarus in 2017? - Belarus Digent

Recently, the Russian Ministry of Defence disclosed logistical data of railway traffic to other countries for the upcoming year.
It revealed that the Kremlin is planning to significantly increase the amount of military cargo headed for Belarus.
This may be a sign that Moscow is preparing to redeploy a large number of Russian troops to Belarus in 2017.
A piece by Belarus Digest predicted that the Kremlin is trying to transform Belarus into a flash point for menacing NATO and Ukraine by deploying its military capabilities on Belarusian territory....
According to these data, the Russian Ministry of Defence plans to send 4,162 railway carriages to Belarus next year. This would be 33 times more traffic than in 2015, and 83 times more traffic than this year. Some more argue that this increase in flow is connected with the 'Zapad/ West' joint strategic military exercises taking place next September.
However, comparing next year's logistical data with the number of railway carriages coming from Russia in 2013, during the previous 'Zapad' military drills, paints a rather different picture.
The Russian Ministry of Defence sent only 200 railway carriages to Belarus that year. Moreover, almost half of the motorised brigade of the Russian Armed Forces (comprising 2,500 troops) took part in the joint military exercises on the territory of Belarus.
Source: Russian Ministry of Defence
In contrast, next year the Russian Ministry of Defence is planning to send 20 times more railway carriages to Belarus than during previous 'Zapad' drills in 2013. What's more, the Kremlin’s strategists are not required to publish certain military logistic data in open sources. This is a usual practise. Therefore, to get a more realistic idea of the scale of Russian troops’ redeployment to Belarus, the number of railway carriages should be multiplied at least by a factor of 1.5.
This logistical military data indirectly confirms that Russia is going to redeploy a number of troops to Belarus almost equal to the 1st Guards Tank Army of the Western Military District, and not simply participate in regular military drills....

bth: this is a very disturbing trend and should be viewed in the context of Russia's attempt to overthrow Montenegro this fall.

Russia deploys 2 new military divisions near Ukraine, Belarus - Spokesman-Review

MOSCOW – The Russian military says it has completed the deployment of two newly formed motorized infantry divisions at the nation’s Western borders.
Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Tuesday the two divisions are stationed in the Belgorod, Voronezh and Smolensk regions near Russia’s border with Ukraine and Belarus. ...

bth: this is part of a multi-year move to intimidate both Ukraine with a prepositioning troops for a drive toward Kiev and to intimidate Belarus into compliance with the wishes of Russia.