Top priority? Russia’s new motorized rifle division only 200 km from two Belarus cities

In May, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu promised to form three new divisions to ‘counter the build-up of NATO forces near Russian borders’. But it is a well-known fact that neither Ukraine nor Belarus is a member of the military alliance.

“Moreover, the war in Ukraine has been lasting two years. Pro-Russian militants seized about 7% of our southern neighbor’s territory. Belarus is bound by all possible military alliances and treaties with Russia; it is even included in the single regional grouping of troops and the single air defense system. Against this background, the Defense Minister’s words sound very silly and cynical,” OSINT website reports..

According to the website, at the moment the military bases in Novocherkassk and Kadamovski (Rostov region) are being built –  there the 159th Motorized Rifle Division is to be deployed. The 10th Tank Division is being formed in the town of Boguchar (Voronezh region); the construction of the military base for the 23rd Motorized Rifle Brigade in Valuiki (Belgorod region) is on its final stade The military base is being created in the town of Klintsy (Bryansk region), to which the units of the 28th Motorised Brigade are being moved. The militaristic preparations has also affected the town of Yelnya (Smolensk region).

The 144th Motorized Rifle Division is being re-established in Yelnya. By the summer of 2017 over 6,000 military personnel, including 3,600 officers and contractors, are expected to come to the place. The first echelon with military equipment and troops from Yekaterinburg arrived on July 13, 2016.

According to the local newspaper Znamya, soon two battalions (400 soldiers each) will be in Yelnya. Elninskaya division will become part of the 1st Guards Tank Army together with Taman Motorized Rifle Division and Kantemir Tank Division.

In 2017, two regiments will be redeployed there.

It is noteworthy that the new division in Yelnya is equidistant from the city of Vitsebsk and the city of Mahiliou (just about 200 km).

YandexMaps snapshot of the deployment site of new motorized division dislocation. The photo shows the territory of the military base, as well as Yelnya’s residential area ‘Kutuzovski’ where part of the Russian military, in particular, officers, will be staying for some time.

“The division in Yelnya, as well as the brigade in Klintsy, are being formed formed on the basis of units of Yekaterinburg-based 28th Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade which gained combat experience during Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine and Syria. Its deployment site in Smolensk region proves the fact of the absolute priority of the Belarusian direction. Together with the motorized brigade in Klintsy located at a distance of 90 kilometers from Homiel, a new division in Yelnya will have a significant impact potential for carrying out military operations in the course of a [possible] hybrid war in eastern Belarus. It is safe to assume that being under protection of mechanized infantry stationed, the new military bases will be fully used by special forces of the GRU of the General Staff which will conduct operations to destabilize the situation in the Republic of Belarus in case of implementing any of annexation scenarios. The lack of border control, as well as significant military forces along the border with Russia, significantly contributes to such course of events,” Informnapalm experts warn., following Informnapalm

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