How Mad Vlad could launch a desperate assault on Ukraine from Belarus in a wild gamble to save a failing invasion
VLADIMIR Putin could launch a desperate assault on Ukraine from Belarus in a crazy gamble to save his failing invasion.
Putin has already used Belarus – his closest military and political ally – as a base for his brutal February invasion.
And strongman leader Alexander Lukashenko has so far resisted pressure to become more involved in the Russian dictator’s politics. chaotic war.
Brigadier General Oleksiy Gromov said: “The threat of resumption of the offensive on the northern front by the Russian armed forces is growing.”
Last week, Lukashenko said he and Putin had formed a new military force of 70,000 Belarusian soldiers and up to 15,000 Russians.
About 170 battle tanks, 200 armored personnel carriers, artillery and aircraft arrive in his country as part of the “joint force”.
Its under-equipped and undisciplined troops are currently struggling to repel the fierce Ukrainian army in the southern region of Kherson.
As Zelensky’s men continue their lightning counteroffensive, they are closing in on the Black Sea town and the Russians have been pushed back up to 20 miles in recent weeks.
Retired US Army Major Mike Lyons says opening a new front in the north would force Ukraine to redeploy troops to defend the border – and give Putin the chance to retaliate. east and south.
And he warned that a new front in northern Ukraine could open a new battle for the capital Kyiv.
“Opening this second front would be important – it would force the Ukrainian military to respond with a certain level of troops,” he said. CNN.
“There is talk of a joint task force between Belarusian troops and Russian troops, so if you take 15,000 Russian troops and bring them to Belarus and combine them with their army of 20,000 or 25,000 of them them, you have a formidable force of 40,000 men there. .
“Ukraine should send at least 15,000 to 20,000 troops to try to make sure nothing happens there. That would distract them from their counter-offensives in the south.
“It’s a question of mobilization – Russia has a challenge with mobilization in the south, but they could quickly mobilize in the north and send troops there.
“What that would mean is quick access to Kyiv. Russia lost that battle four or five months ago, but maybe they could start that battle again.
“Ukrainian troops were there, but they have since been deployed to the south. They should bring more troops there, using police forces, using other units to secure Kyiv.”
The UK Ministry of Defense said the flurry of military activity in Belarus is “likely an attempt to demonstrate Russian-Belarusian solidarity and convince Ukraine to divert forces to guard the northern border”.
But Lyons warned that Lukashenko could face an uprising if his troops get involved in Putin’s war.
Russia has a challenge with mobilization in the south, but it could quickly mobilize in the north and send troops there
Retired Major Mike Lyons
“Lukashenko is aligned with Putin, but the people of Belarus are not aligned with this war,” he said.
“They could have the same internal problems and be easily overthrown there in this country.”
Others have also warned that Lukashenko’s move would be a big risk.
Valery Kavaleuski, a former Belarusian diplomat, told the New York Times: “It would be suicidal, a very bad idea but who knows what they could do.”
Latvian Defense Minister Artis Pabriks added: “Lukashenko is trying to maneuver in an increasingly tight space.
“Obviously Putin is trying to involve Belarus more in his war against Ukraine, but Lukashenko understands that it would be the end of his time if he did that.”
Many Western officials believe Belarus’ role will be to train new Russian conscripts before sending them across the border to Ukraine.
Vadym Skibitsky, a spokesman for Ukraine’s military intelligence agency, said several thousand newly mobilized Russian troops have now been deployed to training sites in Belarus.
But he said they currently lack the artillery or logistical support to invade and confront the fierce Ukrainian troops.
“We see these elements moving now in Belarus, but we don’t see the movement of equipment,” he told the New York Times.
Meanwhile, tensions seem to be rising as the Ukrainian general staff claimed to have been aware of “multiple cases of conflicts” between Russian and Belarusian soldiers deployed near the border.
The General Staff said the clashes were sparked by “the insolent attitude of the Russians towards the Belarusians”.
Russian lines would collapse dramatically in Ukraine – with a former NATO commander saying it could be Russia’s biggest military disaster in 100 years.
In a new set of measures to counter defeats on the battlefield, Putin announced a new special coordination council to work with Russian regions to boost Moscow’s war effort.
And he also declared martial law in four partially occupied regions of Ukraine that Russia claims as its own and restricted movement in and out of areas close to Ukraine.