February 26 – March 3, 2024
Security issues

When united, are we invincible? Belarus and Russia unify their army

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When united, are we invincible? Belarus and Russia unify their army

The Belarusian army is transitioning to combat training programs that take into account the experience of the Russian Armed Forces in the war against Ukraine. This process will be facilitated by the creation of joint training and combat centers in Belarus and Russia. In our country, these centers can be used to increase the Russian military presence as part of the Regional Grouping of Forces.

The creation of joint training and combat centers (TCC) is being finalized and is receiving legal formalization. The text of the agreement appeared on the Russian legal information portal on March 1. However, it was signed on March 28 and came into force on December 26 last year.

The TCCs are intended “for joint training of military personnel, practical combat tasks, and improving the level of coordination and combat training”.

The main tasks of the centers are:

– Joint combat training, duty of military contingents, and performance of training and combat tasks,
– Exchange of experience on issues of combat use of current weapons, military and special equipment,
– Training in practical skills for using models of weapons, military and special equipment,
– Unification of combat training of the armed forces of the parties.

Initially, Belarus and Russia agreed on the creation of three joint TCCs in March 2021:

1. A TCC for the joint training of Air Forces and Air Defense Forces on the territory of Belarus. Its main purpose is the joint training of Su-30SM aircraft crews, training Belarusian specialists to work on modern anti-aircraft missile systems used by the Russian Armed Forces, and joint execution of training and combat tasks. These activities are aimed at improving the level of training of specialists and preparation of units of both the Air Forces and Air Defense Forces of the Republic of Belarus and the Aerospace Forces of Russia.

2. A TCC for the joint training of Ground Forces on the territory of Russia. Its main purpose is the training of motor rifle and tank units of the states using modern methods based on the combat experience of the Russian Armed Forces. The joint training is aimed at working out the elements of interaction of Belarusian military units with the forces of the Russian part of the Regional Group of Forces of Belarus and Russia.

3. A TCC based on the Baltic Fleet of the Western Military District. Its purpose is to train Belarusian military units based on the Russian Marine Corps units equipped with BTR-82A (planned for delivery to the Belarusian Armed Forces), as well as the use of modern material base for diving training of Belarusian specialists.

In October 2022, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu announced the creation of two TCCs for the training of specialists of the Air Forces and Air Defense Forces in Belarus:

– For aviation – at the “Baranavichi” airfield of the 61st Fighter Aviation Base. The task is to train flight crews on Su-30SM fighters.
– For anti-aircraft missile troops – based on the 1st Anti-Aircraft Missile Regiment (Labno-Ogorniki village, Hrodna region). The task is to retrain Belarusian crews for combat operation and maintenance of the S-400 air defense system. In June 2023, an S-400 division went on combat duty in Belarus.

In July 2023, the Russian Foreign Ministry stated: TCCs could be created for all types of troops. De facto, in 2022–2023, TCCs for ground forces were operating on the territory of Belarus, deployed at training grounds in the form of tent cities for Russian mobilized servicemen. Their training was conducted by Belarusian and Russian instructors within the framework of the Regional Grouping of Forces according to programs developed by the Main Directorate of Combat Training of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces.

The central innovation of this program was the training of units in actions as part of small tactical groups and armored groups, detection of targets in populated areas and dense vegetation by distinctive signs, covert search and evacuation of the wounded, and actions of military personnel in various zones.

In turn, Belarusian military personnel periodically undergo training in training centers in Russia. During such sessions, Russian instructors share their experience gained “in the course of the special military operation” with their Belarusian colleagues. After returning, Belarusian servicemen pass on their experience to the units of the Belarusian Armed Forces as “instructors on the most complex subjects of combat training”.

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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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