Belarus’ Defense Ministry said on Dec. 13 that it is conducting an impromptu inspection of its troops’ combat readiness following an order from Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko.
“The measures will be comprehensive, the troops will advance to the designated areas as soon as possible, implement their engineering equipment, organize security and defense, and build bridge crossings across the Nemunas and Berezina rivers,” the ministry said in a statement.
Following the announcement, Belarusian independent monitoring group Belarusian Hajun said it is important to “emphasize that these rivers are not located near to the border with Ukraine.”
On Dec. 9, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu visited Belarus as Minsk and Moscow signed a rushed classified protocol on regional security.
After signing the document, Shoigu met with Lukashenko in Minsk. During the meeting, the Belarusian dictator openly acknowledged that Minsk and Moscow are training troops in Belarus.
At the same time, Belarus’ parliament is considering introducing the death sentence for officials and military personnel that “commit acts of treason.”
According to Andrii Yusov, a spokesperson for the Ukrainian Defense Ministry’s Main Intelligence Directorate, Shoigu’s visit to Minsk may have been intended to pressure Belarus into joining Russia’s full-scale war against Ukraine.