April 22 – April 28, 2024
Security issues

New military doctrine: the West is the enemy, Russia is the friend, nuclear weapons are to be used for attack

The situation got worse

The Belarusian government has adopted a new military doctrine that identifies Western and NATO countries as the main adversaries and outlines Belarus’ obligations to participate in military conflicts involving members of the Union State of Russia and Belarus or the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO). The document effectively authorises the Belarusian army to participate in the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine. Despite the mention of Russian nuclear weapons, no details are provided regarding their intended treatment, which leaves open the possibility of their use by Russia from the territory of Belarus.

New military doctrine: the West is the enemy, Russia is the friend, nuclear weapons are to be used for attack

At a meeting of the All-Belarusian People’s Assembly held on 24-25 April, a new military doctrine (MD) was approved. Although the document asserts that Belarus does not regard any state or nation as an enemy, a list of potential adversaries is provided in Chapter 3, which is devoted to the main trends in the development of the military and political situation. In his report on MD at the All-Belarusian People’s Assembly meeting, Mikalai Buzin, a member of the House of Representatives, identified the United States, NATO, Poland, and the Baltic States as the primary sources of threats to Belarus.

The new MD points out the following key trends in the development of the politico-military situation in this regard:

  • The current balance of military and political forces is characterised by the confrontation of the collective West, led by the United States, with other geopolitical power clusters;
  • The West’s desire to maintain its global dominance and control the planet’s resources has led to a significant conflict in the international relations and military spheres;
  • The military and political leadership of the United States and Great Britain are creating seats of tension in Europe;
  • NATO is effectively an instrument of expansion, intending to maintain American control over the European continent;
  • The unipolar world order is facing an inevitable breakdown, which increases the likelihood of conflict involving the majority of the world’s states, including the use of weapons of mass destruction (WMD).

The new MD notes that the result of these tendencies is an increase in the aggressiveness of the policies of the leaders of Poland and the Baltic states, the creation of an enemy image of Belarus to serve their domestic interests, their active militarisation, and simultaneous attempts to unfoundedly accuse Belarus of escalating the situation. It is proposed that the extensive armament preparations of Eastern European countries create conditions for their use in the proxy war of the collective West against Belarus and its allied states (within the Union State and the CSTO).

The MD explains that the Western-inspired military conflict in Ukraine has created, at least in the short term, a source of tension along the borders of Belarus. The continued maintenance of the conflict and obstruction of a peaceful solution creates the conditions for its escalation and gradual expansion of the number of participants, including Poland and other NATO countries.

Based on this, the MD concludes that these trends increase the likelihood of Belarus becoming involved in an international armed conflict. Furthermore, the document indicates that Poland’s aspirations for regional leadership and the confrontational approach of the Baltic States have contributed to the tendency of their direct involvement in Belarus’ internal affairs, with the objective of:

  • changing the constitutional order of Belarus and bringing political forces aligned with the West to power through the implementation of “colour-coded revolution” scenarios;
  • provoking an internal armed conflict in Belarus by training illegal armed formations from among radicalized citizens of Belarus in neighbouring states.

The MD states that several types of conflicts may be unleashed against Belarus or it may be involved in several types of conflicts with the use of conventional means of destruction or weapons of mass destruction: 1) internal armed conflict; 2) international armed conflict; 3) interstate war; and 4) coalition war.

The MD also considers any action involving the use of military force against one of the member states of the Union State to be a challenge to the interstate formation. In such a scenario, the use of military force by Belarus is subject to the terms of international treaties concluded with the Russian Federation. Any issues are addressed by the regional grouping of troops (forces) of Belarus and the Russian Federation. Aggression by a state (coalition of states) against one of the CSTO member states is considered to be a matter of equal concern.

The deployment of Russian nuclear weapons on Belarusian territory is viewed as an essential element of a comprehensive deterrent strategy designed to prevent potential adversaries from launching armed aggression. This is a direct consequence of the failure of Western guarantor countries to honour their commitments as outlined in the Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances in connection with Belarus’ accession to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.

However, Aliaksandr Lukashenka offered a different perspective on this decision. In military terminology, tactical nuclear weapons (TNW) are considered offensive weapons. Nevertheless, the Belarusian politician pretends to be surprised by the concerns expressed by foreign states regarding the deployment of Russian TNWs in Belarus. He stated that the U.S. stores weapons with similar functions at airbases of several European countries, including Belgium, Germany, Italy, Turkey and the Netherlands. However, the decision on how and in what cases to use TNWs will be made by the Kremlin and Lukashenka, as it is not outlined in the new Belarusian MD.

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Once a week, in coordination with a group of prominent Belarusian analysts, we provide analytical commentaries on the most topical and relevant issues, including the behind-the-scenes processes occurring in Belarus. These commentaries are available in Belarusian, Russian, and English.

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