NewsBelarus could be staging ground for Russian assault, warns Colonel

Belarus could be staging ground for Russian assault, warns Colonel

Belarus is conducting military exercises near the border with Lithuania (illustrative picture).
Belarus is conducting military exercises near the border with Lithuania (illustrative picture).

6:28 AM EDT, March 28, 2024

Could Russia launch an attack on Lithuania from Belarusian soil? Colonel Valery Sakhashchyk, a former airborne brigade commander in Brest and currently serving as the Minister of Defense for the Belarusian government-in-exile, considers such a scenario plausible.

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Belarus is conducting military exercises near the Lithuanian border. The country's leader, Alexander Lukashenko, personally inspected the troops to assess their readiness.

- The military planning is detailed. Every action is pre-planned, and we are currently verifying combat readiness and preparing our forces. General Alexander Naumenko, who oversees the Northwestern Operational Command of the Belarusian military, briefed Lukashenko.

Is an attack from Belarus likely?

On the same day, Lukashenko, who has often been criticized as a dictator, claimed he opposed war and had no intentions of initiating hostilities. He also pointed out alleged provocations by NATO countries.

In a discussion with "Rzeczpospolita," Colonel Valery Sakhashchyk provides a worrying forecast.

Belarus will certainly not formally declare war on Lithuania or Poland, nor will it dispatch its troops. However, Sakhashchyk warned that Belarus could serve as a launch pad for Russian forces to make their way to Lithuania or Poland.

"Similar activities were previously confined to training grounds"

Independent Belarusian news outlets have speculated about the possibility of a Russian offensive targeting Vilnius, referencing Colonel Sakhashchyk's insights. - According to my sources, Russia is significantly upgrading its radiation, chemical, and biological defense forces, which had been largely overlooked for years, revealed the ex-commander.

He also mentioned that roads leading to Vilnius are being improved in Belarus. - The repairs are suspicious. They'll prove helpful when military convoys begin to advance. Moreover, the recent readiness drills near the Lithuanian border are unusual; such exercises were formerly held at designated training areas, Sachaszczyk explained.

While I cannot guarantee such events will transpire, it's a possibility we must consider. The global community should bolster its defense measures, and European citizens must support increased defense funding. We must be vigilant against any surprise from Putin. The Colonel stressed in his conversation with "Rzeczpospolita" that being unprepared could lead to catastrophe.

In August 2022, two years after controversial presidential elections in Belarus, opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya proclaimed the formation of a Belarusian government-in-exile.

- I've decided to establish a joint transitional cabinet. It will be a collaborative executive entity focused on defending Belarus's independence and sovereignty, representing its national interests, and facilitating the country's liberation, Tikhanovskaya elaborated.

Source: "Rzeczpospolita"

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