Russia is building up its military aviation group on the territory of Belarus under the guise of joint drills scheduled for Jan. 16, Deputy Chief of Ukraine’s General Staff Oleksiy Hromov said during a briefing on Jan. 12.
He said that the threat of missile and air strikes launched from Belarus on the territory of Ukraine is growing.
“The enemy is building up an aviation group in Belarus under the guise of training,” Hromov said.
“At least 10 Mi-8 and Mi-24-type helicopters were transferred to the Machulishchy airfield last week. It is also expected that operational and tactical aircraft will be relocated to Belarusian airfields.”
Hromov also said there might be flights of Russian long-range aircraft in Belarusian airspace.
“Taking into account the above, the threat of air missile strikes, and the use of kamikaze drones on the territory of Ukraine from the airspace of Belarus is growing,” he said.
Russia and Belarus will conduct joint tactical air exercises from Jan. 16 to Feb. 1, with the involvement of aviation units.
Military drills on the territory of Belarus have been continuing since April 29, 2022. The last time Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko extended them was on Jan. 2.
During the last few days, the Belarusian Hajun monitoring project reported the arrival of several echelons with Russian military personnel to Belarus. Russia also continues to transfer its military equipment there.
U.S.-based Institute for the Study of War (ISW) reported on Dec. 23 that Moscow has been setting up conditions for a renewed invasion of northern Ukraine — possibly aimed at Kyiv — since at least October 2022. However, there remains no evidence that Moscow is actively preparing a strike force in Belarus.
According to the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine, there are currently around 10,000 Russian troops deployed in Belarus.
On Dec. 27, 2022, State Border Service spokesman Andriy Demchenko said that no enemy strike groups were being formed on the territory of Belarus, and that the situation on the border with Belarus remains under control.