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.
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. The MoD emphasized that logistics and engineering support units worked out transporting ammunition and fuel over “several kilometers” to combat units for these exercises. 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.
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.
ISW will continue monitoring the situation and providing updates.