Russia may deploy arms depots in Belarus
On November 14, an agreement came into force between the governments of the Republic of Belarus and the Russian Federation on joint technical support of the regional grouping of troops of the two states.
As follows from the agreement, technical support of a regional grouping of troops shall be carried out by forces and means of the two states "in the interests of their national units of the regional grouping of troops, and, if necessary, in the interests of all the troops that make up the grouping," Naviny.by reports.
The document also says that additional armament, military equipment, and other material means to the Belarusian part of the regional grouping of troops shall be provided by the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation in the agreed volumes at the expense of available reserves of the armed forces of the Russian Federation amid the rising military threat to the Union State and in time of war.
In the period of "direct threat of aggression," stocks of weapons, military equipment, and other material means destined for the Russian part of the regional grouping of troops can be redeployed to a stationary material-technical base of the armed forces of Belarus.
According to experts, the above two provisions are key in the document.
Read alsoNATO sees higher risk of "major interstate war"Judging from the context of the document, the Belarusian part of the regional grouping of troops will be provided with additional weapons, military equipment, and other material means at the expense of the Russian Defense Ministry's reserves when the number of Belarusian troops is raised to a wartime minimum amid the growing military threat and the outbreak of war.
In this case, the provisions of the Treaty on the Limitation of Conventional Arms in Europe, which, however, Russia no longer complies with, will lose any meaning whatsoever.
As the experience of the Zapad 2017 military drills has shown, the transfer time for heavy weapons and combat equipment to be redeployed by rail from Yaroslavl (and even from Moscow) to the western borders of the union state is too great by the standards of modern warfare.
The way out is the preliminary storage of heavy weapons and military equipment in Belarus with a subsequent deployment of troops by air.
It is noted that, contrary to fears on the part of some observers, storage of weapons for the Russian forces on the Belarusian territory will not acquire the status of a military base and will fall under the jurisdiction of Belarus: the Russian military will not be able to use these reserves at any time.
Read alsoSharoiko’s "spy case": Belarus KGB says Ukrainian monitored Russian military facilities"Theoretically, they could protect this property, but there is a number of restrictions. In particular, Russian military can stay on the Belarusian territory for 2 months. After that, they must leave, and others come to their place. The procedure is costly and disheartening, and it is unlikely to be used. It is likely that weapons, military equipment, and other military reserves stored in the Belarusian territory will be guarded by the Belarusian military or paramilitary guards subordinated to the Ministry of Internal Affairs," the experts say.