Belarus, Russia form joint regional group of forces
According to Lukashenko, the Belarusian Army constitutes the basis or majority of this formation.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko agreed on the deployment of a joint regional group of forces in light of recent developments in Ukraine.
The Belta News Agency revealed this major turn of tides by citing official sources from Minsk: "In connection with the aggravation of the situation on the western borders of the Union State, we agreed to deploy a regional grouping of forces from the Russian Federation and the Republic of Belarus. This complies with our documents. They say that if the threat reaches the level it has now, we begin to use the Union State grouping of forces".
According to Lukashenko, the Belarusian Army constitutes the basis or majority of this formation: "I must inform you that the formation of this grouping has begun. It has been going on for, I think two days. I gave an order to start forming this group," Lukashenko said.
Russia and Belarus are members of the Union State, a supranational organization formed in the 1990s with the objective of integrating both nations' political, economic, and defense policies. Its military doctrine declares that any aggression against either member is an aggression against both, which would call for "appropriate measures" to be taken "using all the forces and means" at the countries' disposal to neutralize the threat.
Later on Monday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov confirmed that "interaction in various fields, including defense, is constantly being discussed during bilateral contacts between Presidents Putin and Lukashenko," and that this is pronounced in the Union State's military doctrine.
Chairman of the State Border Committee of Belarus Anatoly Lappo said Sunday that Ukrainian forces have destroyed nearly all bridges and mined the roads along the Belarus border. "Today, almost all border bridges have been blown up, and automobile and railway border routes are completely mined,” Lappo said as quoted by Belarusian TV.
Earlier, in an earlier meeting with the country's military and security forces, Lukashenko warned Kiev against their plans to execute a strike on his country, adding: "I have already said today that Ukraine is not just contemplating, but planning strikes on the territory of Belarus. Of course, the Ukrainians absolutely do not need this. Why would they need to open a second front on our southern border, which is their northern border? This is madness from the military point of view. They are being pushed by their patrons to unleash a war against Belarus in order to draw us into it".
Belarus is set to receive Russia's 9K720 Iskander guided missile systems and the S-400 Triumf air defense systems, the Belarusian Ministry of Defense said on Friday. "The defense minister (Viktor Khrenin) has announced the incoming delivery of new equipment, which includes the [Russian-made] Iskander guided missile systems and the S-400 air defense systems," the defense ministry said on Telegram.
Lukashenko stated that the intel he received was from unofficial channels that claim Ukraine's intentions to recreate a 'Crimean Bridge Part II'-style scenario in Belarus, followed by sending down orders to military and security forces in an attempt to strengthen his country's security considering "the rapidly changing situation."
Last Saturday, Ukrainian special services authorized and carried out the explosion on the Crimean Bridge, which was a terrorist attack aimed at destroying Russia's essential infrastructure, according to Russian President Vladimir Putin. The latter met with Russian investigative chief Alexander Bastrykin to examine the preliminary findings of the inquiry into the Saturday bombing on the Kerch Strait bridge.
Following the attack, Vladimir Konstantinov, head of the Crimean parliament, said, "Ukrainian vandals managed to reach the Crimean Bridge with their bloody hands. They now have something to be proud of: for 23 years of their management, they failed to build anything worthy of attention in Crimea, but they managed to damage the canvas of the Russian bridge."
Moreover, Lukashenko commented on the attack by directly threatening Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky: "tell the president of Ukraine and other insane individuals that the Crimean Bridge will seem like flowers to them if they touch even one meter of our territory with their dirty hands".
Belarus' forces are deployed westward to face NATO forces concentrated in Poland and the Baltics, as it stays out of the war in Ukraine, but the Ukrainian military launched several attacks against Belarus in the early stages of the conflict, with Lukashenko reporting in March that a Ukrainian Tochka-U missile had been shot down by Belarusian air defense troops.