Belarus could muster 10,000 troops at most to invade Ukraine, journalist says
According to Belarusian opposition journalist Pavel Svedlov, there are about 10 thousand combat-ready soldiers in the Belarusian army, but not all of them will agree to fight against Ukraine (Photo:Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Belarus via Facebook)
In an interview with NV Radio on Nov. 7, Editor-in-chief of Belarusian opposition radio station Euroradio, Pavel Sverdlov, talked about how credible is the military threat Belarus could pose to Ukraine.
According to Sverdlov, the entire army of Belarus is 65,000-strong, while 20,000 of them “are basically civilians – people who are engaged in maintenance.” Most of the remaining 45,000 Belarusian military men are conscripts and “largely soldiers, officers who aren’t capable of doing anything and won't go anywhere.”
“But about 10,000 of them are combat-ready and are capable of carrying out an order,” said Sverdlov.
At the same time, he added that whether those 10,000 troops would agree to invade Ukraine is a “big question.”
“According to a member of Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya’s United Transitional Cabinet, Valery Sakhashchik, there are many decent people left in (Belarusian) Defense Ministry, who are still sitting with their heads buried in the sand,” Sverdlov added.
“But when they are forced to make a choice, they will nevertheless favor officer’s honor and common sense. Which tells us all that the war on Russia’s side is not a defensive war, as propaganda – including ours, of course – is trying to convince us.”
He recalled that the Belarusian military doctrine is defensive and “it is stated everywhere that the Belarusian army does not conduct offensive actions.”
Sverdlov therefore concludes that the Belarusian military “has room for maneuver.” By which he means, a serviceman can say “I won’t follow this order because it does not comply with military doctrine” and "I won’t follow this order because it is criminal.”
At the same time, Sverdlov admitted that some parts of the Belarusian military would fight against Ukraine, despite everything.
He noted tgat polls among the civilian population show a slight drop in the number of Belarusians who “very clearly believe that Russia is an aggressor country, and Belarus is a co-aggressor” and an increase in the number of those who doubt it. Sverdlov associates the shift with the influence of Russian and Belarusian propaganda.
On Oct. 10, self-proclaimed President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko announced that Minsk and Moscow agreed to deploy a regional “joint force group.” Lukashenko said that the armed forces of Belarus would form the core of the grouping. At the same time, he has ordered to receive and deploy “more than 1,000” Russian troops on the territory of the republic.
Belarusian news outlet later Nasha Niva reported that Lukashenko decided to begin covert mobilization in Belarus. The Belarusian parliament voted to introduce new restrictions on citizens leaving the country, on Oct. 13.
The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine reported that the threat of a new Russian offensive against Ukraine on the northern front is growing. However, Kyiv will not be the target: his time, the direction of the offensive may westward – in order to cut the main logistical supply lines to Ukraine from partner countries.
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