Belarusian activist tells how Ukrainian Army can defeat troops gathered in Belarus in six hours

28 October 2022, 12:42 PM
Belarusian and Russian dictators Alexander Lukashenko and Vladimir Putin (Photo:Sputnik/Ramil Sitdikov/Kremlin via REUTERS)

Belarusian and Russian dictators Alexander Lukashenko and Vladimir Putin (Photo:Sputnik/Ramil Sitdikov/Kremlin via REUTERS)

In an interview with Radio NV on Oct. 27, he spoke of the number of troops the Belarusian and Russian dictators, Alexander Lukashenko and Vladimir Putin, have gathered on the territory of Belarus, and whether Ukraine should expect a new attack this week.

NV: Brigadier General of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Oleksiy Hromov said our General Staff doesn’t rule out the possibility of another Russian attack on Kyiv from Belarus, namely through the Chornobyl zone or Chernihiv Oblast. How do you assess such dangers?

Motolko: Currently, we can’t really say that the concentration of Russian troops in the south of Belarus is any different from what it was a month, or two or four months ago.

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NV: I saw your analysis. You assumed that the Belarusian part of the Chornobyl zone is the only place in Belarus where drones could be secretly launched. What is your conclusion based on, and can we say that they are really launched from there?

Motolko: We still don’t have any confirmation that these Iranian drones are located on the territory of Belarus. There is no report from people in Belarus, no photo or video evidence of the border crossing, no confirmation to say so.

We began to work by excluding possibilities. Where can they be launched from? They can be launched, perhaps, directly near the border or from those territories where people do not live and, perhaps, there is no mobile communication.

I think that Polissia in Belarus, as well as in Ukraine, there are (places thagt are) almost completely deserted. In Belarus, these are the Olmany swamps in Brest Oblast and a section of the Polesie State Radioecological Reserve (this is the Chornobyl zone). Not the safest place as we know. But it’s only place from where they could theoretically be launched now.

Later, our team began analyzing satellite images. And they noticed exactly two points. They noticed paths near these resettled villages in the Chornobyl zone, as well as a trampled road – there was some activity in the last few months. We assumed: if the drones could really be launched from Belarus, this is the most likely launch site.

But at the same time, we don’t have any confirmation yet. There is no satellite image showing (any) command post from where they could have done this. We assume (one should be there). For now, we still don’t have direct confirmation that there are Iranian drones in Belarus. We’re looking, but we can’t find them yet, unfortunately.

NV: We’ve seen reports from Ukraine’s General Staff that Iranian drones were flying from Belarus. I think they know what they’re talking about.

Motolko: I want to note that we’ve seen reports from both the General Staff and the intelligence, but the same Pentagon says they have no information. There is still no unequivocal opinion here either.

We agree that the most logical way is to send them along the Pripyat and Dnipro rivers, to take them to infrastructure facilities somewhere closer to the points of attack. But for now, I repeat, we have no confirmation, we’re still looking into it.

NV: We saw a sharp public escalation in the Belarusian direction after Oct. 7, after a meeting between Belarusian and Russian dictators. First there was a diplomatic note that was handed to our ambassador in Belarus. Later the accusation that Ukraine intends to launch some kind of strike at Belarus. After that, the regional grouping of the Union State appeared, as they called it. Do you think this is some kind of smoke screen or are they really up to something serious?

Motolko: This could be a very long discussion. We fully agree that many events took place and are taking place after Lukashenko’s visit to Putin. It’s also necessary to pay attention to the fact that Lukashenko de jure subordinated the KGB (Committee for State Security) to himself. De facto, it was already under Lukashenko, but now they’ve done it officially.

What happened? We assume that conditions were given to Lukashenko: either one thing is done, or there will be a threat, relatively speaking, either to him or to his younger son. Security guarantees have always been important to him.

Accordingly, after that we noticed this regional troop grouping, which existed de facto since 1996 or 1998. But it was from that week that they began to actively talk about it. And they began to take out Russians who were mobilized from Oct. 15 – not quite a professional army and not quite contract soldiers, but those who have now been gathered all over Russia.

They are brought not to the south of Belarus. We identified that they are brought to two training grounds in Vitebsk Oblast (this is the north) and near Baranavichy – this is not exactly the Polish border, but the relative center of Belarus closer to Poland. Perhaps there are some military drills near Asipovichy, the Asipovichy training ground. Training is underway there these days. It’s likely some artillery is being trained there.

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What superficial conclusions can be drawn from this?

The first scenario. Direct participation of Belarusian troops in aggression against Ukraine is extremely unlikely. Because it’s not just that society is categorically against it, the military also doesn’t understand why they should fight in Putin’s war. And it’s called Putin’s war in our country – these are his ambitions, his whims against the Ukrainians with whom we’ve never had any conflict or aggression. This is always a friendly southern neighbor with whom we always went to visit each other.

The second scenario is the use of the Belarusian army as part of these allied forces. Relatively speaking, 70% of the Russians and 30% of the Belarusian troops are being shuffled and sent to the war.

There are two points. First, who should give the order? If a Russian general or officer orders to attack Ukraine, then a Belarusian military should probably ask a question “who is he for him?” since they still obey the Belarusian army, the Belarusian commander-in-chief.

The second point. If we recall what happened in January-February 2022: a group of 15,000 to 30,000 professional, well-trained Russian soldiers moved to Kyiv and Chernihiv oblasts, we believed then they were well equipped, with a sufficient amount of modern (at that time) equipment... Now, if we are talking about this allied group, which consists of professional Belarusian soldiers who have never had combat experience, and mobilized Russians, they need, probably, three, four, five times more people.

Of course, they can send 30,000 people who are also not yet on the territory of Belarus: they will be defeated within the first day, I believe, if not six hours. Accordingly, there is no one to send yet.

Therefore, the probability of the participation of Belarusian troops at this stage is quite low. And Lukashenko probably needs to find some scenario to please Putin’s whims. Because everyone sees the situation on both the eastern and southern fronts of Ukraine: The Russians haven’t had any successes for quite a long time.

The third very important point. Belarusian society doesn’t accept war in any form. Lukashenko already provided the country’s territory: Belarus is already actually participating by providing airspace and land for launching missiles, in particular at civilian objects. But any direct participation and the first killed Belarusians will in some way cause chaos and instability. Neither Lukashenko nor the Kremlin has a strategy and plan to suppress street protests in the current situation. Yes, society is scared. The last time, people came out en masse to protest against the war on Feb. 27 – the day Belarus held a referendum. A thousand people were arrested then, which is a lot for a country with a population of nine million.

Any mass demonstration will lead to quite serious changes, and, most likely, even the Kremlin understands this.

Putin may not understand this. Because, as we know, the Russian generals also tried to persuade him and recommended completely different actions. But Putin probably has roughly the same understanding of reality as Lukashenko – not always adequate.

To be honest, I don’t want to guess what it will lead to now. We’re monitoring. For example, no offensive or attack will take place this week.

One of the scenarios that can be considered (it’s not the most profitable, but it has at least some logic) is the use of artillery and some short-range missiles, projectiles, along the entire border to create tension. Then Ukraine will have to partially transfer troops to the northern border, the border with Belarus. But this is not a logical scenario. We continue to monitor.

NV: The General Staff also said that a combat group may be created in Belarus in the spring of 2023. That is, there are still four months ahead. And what do we know about those partially mobilized who arrived in Belarus? Is there a professional military there? Do we understand correctly that, in this way, Lukashenko also provides bridgeheads for their training on the territory of the country, whose president he declared himself?

Motolko: Yes, we discussed this very scenario even before his trip to St. Petersburg. One of the most realistic things that could happen is to bring these mobilized Russians in and train them. Accordingly, there should be Russian officers, professional military personnel who will train them.

Therefore, we now assume that this training is taking place on the territory of Belarus. We don’t have any more information from the military units since it’s a rather closed structure, especially after 2020.

The only thing: we have seen the statement of the intelligence or the General Staff that 3,200 Russian mobilized soldiers were brought to Belarus. We assume it’s about 6,000 people. But that’s not enough to cause concern.

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