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A large-scale combat readiness check is in progress in Belarus: hundreds of reservists are being mobilized, even checkpoints appeared in some towns. Is this a planned wargame or a show of power?
At the moment, one can see many gathering points in Belarus: for example, Mahiliou reservists should come to the building of a local culture centre and register. Unexpected draft notices surprise people.
“I am almost 50 years old. It is not clear. They have called me out,” a man says.
“Hardly had I been out of service when they wanted me again,” a young man says.
As it turned out, notices are directly sent to receivers’ places of work. To ensure the effectiveness of the call, the authorities enlisted not only military office employees, but also the police. A reservist has only a few hours to pack. Some were immediately taken to military garrisons. The participants’ age range is very high.
“Many people are being taken. Many friends, acquaintances of mine have been called out,” a man says.
“They say one should have food for a day, documents, warm clothes,” another recalls.
According to the Belarusian Defense Ministry, reservists are sent to military garrisons in Minsk, Vitsebsk and Mahiliou regions. The declared aims of the reserve training are a comprehensive combat readiness check and getting ready for performing a number of tasks. Some observers believe it to be a usual step to improve the army’s proficiency. But other experts stress that the current call be not a flash in the pan…
“Russia is 15 times the size of Belarus, and it is behaving inappropriately. It is scaring the entire world. Putin is the main warmonger. One should be ready for whatever comes,” says Ales Stankevich, a representative of the Belarusian Association of Officers.
It is not the first time when Minsk-Moscow relations have deteriorated. The recent economic conflicts over gas, oil and oil products are openly called ‘wars’. Belarus president Alyaksandr Lukashenka has repeatedly defined Russia’s actions as political attacks. In his latest speech, Lukashenka raised the topic of protecting freedom and independence again.
“We will go without Russian oil athough it will not be easy; but one cannot put a dollar tag on freedom and independence,” he said.
It is rumoured that Moscow has already taken the decision to remove Lukashenka from power. In particular, such opinion was voiced by famous Russian political analyst Andrey Piontkovsky. Should Lukashenka be in fear of a coup?
“It depends on the way this war will be waged. If old methods, i.e. tanks and weapons are used, Belarus would be able to hold out up to one day,” Ales Stankevich stresses.
The joint Belarus-Russian military exercises scheduled for March will lead to the presence of a large number of foreign military and equipment, which might be used instrument for a coup, a number of analysts warn.