Monday, October 5, 2020

Belarus Warning Update: Russia Likely Began Preparing Logistics Supply Lines to Belarus

 October 5, 2020, 4:00 pm EDT

By George Barros


Russia’s Western Military District (WMD) is intensifying efforts likely intended to establish the logistical infrastructure necessary to sustain a near-continuous Russian conventional military presence in Belarus. ISW assesses recent WMD exercises are preparations for the upcoming Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) Unbreakable Brotherhood command-staff exercises planned for October 12-16 at the Losvido training ground in Vitebsk, Belarus.[1]

WMD logistics units are conducting exercises to transport ammunition and fuel closer to Belarus—activities which would be necessary to support a lasting deployment. The Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) stated on October 4 that regiment-sized elements (1,000 personnel)—including unspecified motorized rifle, tank, reconnaissance, engineering, artillery, and logistics and signals units—of Russia’s Voronezh-based 20th Combined Arms Army (CAA) will conduct exercises in Voronezh, Belgorod, Kursk, Bryansk, and Smolensk at an unspecified time in the future.[2] The MoD emphasized that logistics and engineering support units worked out transporting ammunition and fuel over “several kilometers” to combat units for these exercises.[3] Russia’s Smolensk and Bryansk regions border eastern Belarus and would host supply lines to Belarus in the event of a sustained Russian military presence there.[4]

WMD units continue emphasizing command and control activities consistent with establishing supply lines to Belarus. The MoD stated on October 4 that a company-sized (100 personnel) signals element of the 95th Command Brigade of the Leningrad-based 6th CAA will conduct exercises using multi-purpose mobile communications systems to practice deploying and concealing integrated field command and control network nodes at an unspecified time in the future.[5]

ISW will continue monitoring the situation and providing updates.