Belarus’ military has likely taken on a “significant, but more discreet” role in training Russian conscripts, the U.K. Defense Ministry reported on Dec. 22.
The shift is likely intended to “partially remediate the lack of Russian military trainers, many of whom are deployed in Ukraine or have become casualties."
According to the U.K. Defense Ministry, the shift represents a “role reversal,” as Belarus’ military has traditionally been considered as “inferior” by Russia to its own.
Russian President Vladimir Putin met with Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko in Minsk on Dec. 19, marking Putin’s eighth meeting with Lukashenko in 2022.
Putin and Lukashenko agreed to continue the practice of joint military exercises and develop new military equipment to form a “single defense space.”
Putin announced that Russian soldiers would train Belarusian pilots on aircraft re-equipped “for the possible use of airborne ammunition with a special warhead,” referring to Kinzhal missiles and nuclear warheads.
Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said, “nothing dramatic happened during this meeting.”
Similarly, the Institute for the Study of War reported that Lukashenko has likely managed to deflect Putin’s efforts to coerce Belarus into further Russian-Belarusian integration.