In this report we will review the most important military events that took place on the territory of Belarus in July 2022 and were recorded by the monitoring team of the Belarusian Hajun Project
Drills and exercises of the Belarusian Armed Forces. Activity at training grounds
During July, there were a number of exercises of the Belarusian Armed Forces and territorial troops. For example, from July 12 to 14, there were command-staff exercises with territorial troops of the Zhlobin district (Gomel region). We should also mention the staff exercises with authorities and military units of the electronic warfare (EW) on July 13-14, as well as scheduled control exercises on tactical and special training with the communications troops on July 11-15.
The mentioned exercises are more similar to planned exercises and do not indicate preparation of the Belarusian Armed Forces for direct entry into the war against Ukraine. However, we can note that in interviews the Belarusian military often note that they study the experience of the war in Ukraine and take it into account when preparing their troops.
During July, exercises at 13 training grounds of the Belarusian Armed Forces were extended four times (1, 2, 3, 4). The last time the exercises were extended until August 6. Extension of exercises at the training grounds has become, perhaps, a routine. After the end of the exercise Union Resolve-2022, an extension of the combat readiness inspection of the units of the Belarusian Armed Forces was announced (without any specific timeline). Therefore, the exercises at the training grounds are regularly extended.
Exercises of the Belarusian Armed Forces in Belarus were extended until at least August 6 / Belarusian Hajun
Movement of military equipment of the Belarusian Armed Forces
Active movements of columns of military equipment were observed due to the ongoing various exercises conducted by the Belarusian Armed Forces, as well as the performance of the units to strengthen the protection of the state border. The greatest activity of such movements was traditionally observed in Brest and Gomel regions bordering Ukraine, as well as in the southern districts of Minsk region. We can also note movement of military equipment in Grodno region, where two mechanized brigades are stationed: the 6th (Grodno) and the 11th (Slonim).
The structure of columns was various. The overwhelming majority of columns consisted of trucks of various modifications (MAZ, KAMAZ, ZiL-131, Ural, GAZ-66, Volat (MZKT), logistics equipment (field kitchens, fuel trucks). Movements of military equipment of communication troops (1, 2) due to exercises, and columns with military equipment were also recorded. Mostly air defense equipment, armored vehicles (T-72B tanks, BMP-2, BTR-80/82A, BRDM, armored vehicles of various modifications) and artillery systems (2A65 Msta-B 152-mm howitzer, 122-mm Grad MRL, D-30 122-mm howitzer, etc.) were recorded.
T-72B tank of the Belarusian Armed Forces at the exercises in July / Ministry of Defence of Belarus
We can also note the transportation of artillery ammunition, which was recorded in the village of Barouka (Lepel district). We note that the 231st Artillery Brigade is stationed in Barouka. Therefore, the transportation of artillery ammunition is most likely explained by combat training activities.
Single military vehicles were observed in settlements located in all regions of Belarus. This may be explained by the daily activities of military units of the Belarusian Armed Forces.
To summarize, we can state that the overwhelming majority of columns of military equipment of the Belarusian Armed Forces were supply convoys, which can be explained by the continuing performance of tasks by the Belarusian Armed Forces to protect the state border. Also, one of the significant reasons for active movements of columns of military equipment of the Belarusian Armed Forces is participation in various propaganda actions and events (1, 2, 3, 4, etc.). The «civil-patriotic» events were accompanied by demonstrations of samples of weapons and military equipment of the Belarusian Armed Forces, as well as demonstration performances by servicemen.
There are no significant movements of combat equipment on roads. The single movements recorded can be connected with combat training activities, which is a normal situation.
Movements of the Belarusian Armed Forces by rail
We can note quite a high intensity of railroad movements. The Belarusian Hajun Project marked two peak moments in the movement of the Belarusian Armed Forces by rail:
July 14-16. There were movements by rail transport of units of the 6th Mechanized Brigade (from Grodno to Brest training ground, as well as to Vaukavysk and Slonim, and from there to Ziabrauka), the 11th Mechanized Brigade (Slonim-Yelsk-Bouharka (Yelsk district), and the 5th Independent Special Operations Brigade (Maryina Horka-Ivanava). Most of the military equipment was transferred to the border regions. The fleet of vehicles is the standard armor of the mechanized brigade (T-72B/3 tanks, BMP-1 and BMP-2 armored infantry fighting vehicles, MT-LB armored personnel carriers and the 122-mm 2S1 Gvozdika howitzer). A detailed chronology of the movements is available here.
Relocation of equipment to the south and withdrawal of ammunition to Russia: Analysis of rail activity in Belarus / Belarusian Hajun
Thus, the nature of movements of the Belarusian Armed Forces by rail indicates another rotation of units involved in the performance of tasks to protect the state border with Ukraine. There is a slight increase of forces in the border areas, designed to form a more reliable defense.
It is also worth noting that the loading and withdrawal of ammunition from the 46th rocket and ammunition arsenal (Bronnaya Hara village, Biaroza district, Brest region) was recorded. For example, on July 14, another train with ammunition was sent from Bronnaya Hara station to Russia. The possible reason for the withdrawal was a shortage of some ammunition in Russia.
Activity of the Russian Armed Forces
1. Missile launches on July 28.
Early in the morning of July 28, missiles were launched from Ziabrauka airfield (Gomel district) against the territory of Ukraine. Presumably, from 05:23 to 06:29, about 25 missiles were launched. There were reports that the explosions were in Kyiv and Chernihiv regions.
One of the missile launches in the morning of July 28 / Belarusian Hajun
If we assume that all the launches were made from Iskander operational-tactical missile systems, then there must be at least six launchers at the airfield. We note that according to the information received earlier, up to 10 S-300/400 surface-to-air missile systems may be located at the airfield.
2. Location of troops.
In general, according to the Belarusian Hajun Project, Russian Armed Forces units are observed in 4 out of 6 regions of Belarus. An up-to-date list of their locations is available by links (here and here).
3. Movements of columns of the Russian Armed Forces.
Minor movements of columns of the Russian Armed Forces were observed (for example, a column on the route Minsk-Babruisk, Gomel-Rechytsa). Single vehicles continue to be spotted near shopping malls in Mazyr.
It should be noted that the activity of the Russian Armed Forces’ columns remains low.
July was active for military aviation events.
- July 7 – about 20 pilots from Russia arrived at Baranavichy airfield.
- July 9 – An airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) A-50 aircraft of the Russian Aerospace Forces arrived at Machulishchy airfield. The aircraft left Belarus on July 15. During its presence in Belarus, the aircraft conducted a number of flights in the Belarusian airspace.
AEW&C A-50 aircraft (RF-94268) of the Russian Aerospace Forces is leaving Belarus.
According to our information, at 10:30 the aircraft took off from the military airfield in Machulishchy and flew out of the Belarusian airspace back to Russia. pic.twitter.com/sBQz6wqpCJ
— Belarusian Hajun project (@MotolkoHelp) July 15, 2022
- During the month, there were active arrivals of Russian Aerospace Forces’ military transport aircraft at Belarusian airfields. On July 9-17, 15 military transport aircraft of the Russian Aerospace Forces arrived at Machulishchy airfield: ten IL-76, three An-124, and two An-22.
Chronology of the Russian military transport aviation activity in Belarus from July 9 to 17, 2022. / Belarusian Hajun
- There was an increase in training activity of the Belarusian Air Force.
- Asautsy airfield (Biaroza district, Brest region) was more actively used for combat training activities of the Belarusian Air Force.
It should be noted that the activity of military transport aviation of the Russian Aerospace Forces is high, which can be explained by the supply of the remaining group of troops of the Russian Armed Forces in Belarus. However, at the moment we have no reliable information about the nature of cargoes that the transport aircraft were delivering/taking.
The general nature of the military activity of the Belarusian Armed Forces does not allow us to conclude that an attack on Ukraine is being prepared. It is worth noting that in general, such a scenario can’t be completely denied. However, today it does not look realistic.
The Russian Armed Forces remain on the territory of Belarus and continue to actively use the military infrastructure of the Belarusian Armed Forces for their own purposes. There are no preconditions for the complete withdrawal of the Russian Armed Forces from Belarus. The most probable scenario is periodic missile strikes from the territory of Belarus (airborne and ground-based systems). There are no preconditions for the beginning of a large-scale land operation from the territory of Belarus (similar to the one that began on February 24, 2022).