Let me try to explain what’s wrong with the new wave of deployment of Russian troops in Belarus and why the threat of a new attack on Kyiv from the north is a bluff

Let me try to explain what’s wrong with the new wave of deployment of Russian troops in Belarus and why the threat of a new attack on Kyiv from the north is a bluff.

A🧵 1/

Last week Lukashenko announced the deployment of a joint Belarusian-Russian regional grouping of troops composed of Belarusian ground forces and several thousand Russian troops (Belarusian MoD later specified there would be 9,000 of them). 2/

The first trains with Russian troops have already started arriving in Belarus, and three important points should be made here. 1) Judging by the photographs, it is not regular Russian army units that arrive in Belarus, but freshly mobilised Russian reservists. 3/

2) Russian military trains don't carry any heavy equipment – only trucks, petrol tankers and passenger cars with soldiers. 3) Russians are not being brought to the border with Ukraine like in January, but to training bases in northern Belarus. 4/

In other words, at this stage, we are almost certainly talking about the training of Russian reservists in Belarus, as all Russian ranges are overloaded. The Ukrainian military intelligence announced this back in late September (they estimated the nr of reservists to be 20k). 5/

According to the AFU joint forces command, as of early October, there were up to 1,000 Russian troops, 6 aircraft, 4 Iskanders and 12 S-400s in Belarus. In theory, the mobilised troops could reinforce this grouping after training, but there are several "buts". 6/

First, the Russians, as I noted earlier, arrive without heavy equipment. The videos that have been circulating on Twitter in recent days, allegedly showing Russian tanks, APCs, and howitzers with 'menacing new tactical markings' arriving in Belarus aren't real. 7/

Or rather, the videos are real, but they show trains of the Belarusian army. This can be easily determined by the blue passenger cars (Russia's are grey) and the triangle-shaped tactical markings adopted by the Belarusian army in late Summer. 8/

Also, these Belarusian troops aren't being deployed on the border with Ukraine, it's just a rotation. Those brigades that have been reinforcing the border in recent months are returning to their bases, being replaced by fresh ones. The total number of troops remains the same. 9/

The Belarusian MoD said today that Russia plans to transfer 170 tanks to Belarus, but so far we see the opposite process. Without any statement last week alone, Belarus handed over at least 92 T-72A tanks and dozens of trucks to Russia. 10/

So if anything the Belarusian flank is being weakened rather than strengthened, and all Belarus can do is put on a good face and loudly announce that Ukraine should be scared. In recent days Lukashenko and his minions made a whole bunch of loud statements: 11/

About the deployment of a regional grouping of troops, pre-emptive strikes, partial mobilisation, issuing of weapons to firefighters, etc. Some of these statements aren't even new, they were just repeated this week for greater effect. 12/

The main target audience of these statements is the West. For the first time in living memory, the Belarusian MoD has decided to communicate its actions also in English and Spanish. A stark contrast to February, when the attack was real and the Belarusian MoD was silent. 13/

The only real things we have so far are the arrival of Russian mobiks, the handover of >100 tanks and trucks to Russia and isolated "mobilisation readiness exercises" in some areas of Belarus, which look as pathetic as in Russia. Everything else is just hawkish rhetoric. 14/

And last but not least. The Belarusian-Ukrainian border is almost entirely covered by the impassable Polesie marshes, the largest wetlands in Europe. The few sections along the roads where the Russians attacked in February have been turned by Ukrainians into the Maginot Line. 15/

With minefields, echeloned defence, blown-up bridges, etc. An attack on them by the Belarusian-Russian grouping in its current state would be suicide which would likely result in Lukashenko's political suicide. So no, there will be no attack from Belarus, at least for now. 16/16

Originally tweeted by Tadeusz Giczan (@TadeuszGiczan) on October 17, 2022.

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