Belarus Warns of NATO Threat - Stresses Western Alliance Can Quickly Mobilise 100,000 Soldiers on Border

Belarus’ first Deputy Defence Minister, Viktor Gulevich, warned on August 5th of a possible threat from the fast-expanding NATO military bloc, highlighting that the U.S.-led alliance of Western powers had the ability to mobilise 100,000 soldiers within a month on the country’s borders. "The U.S. ‘Four Thirties’ initiative, adopted in 2018 during the NATO summit, is being implemented at a rapid pace. 

According to this, the allied command of the alliance’s united armed forces must receive 30 combined arms battalions, 30 air squadrons and 30 combat vessels ready within 30 days. This allows NATO to concentrate as quickly as possible a land group of 100,000 on our borders," Minister Gulevich said during a briefing. 

This followed an announcement earlier in the day by the country’s by minister that approximately 12,800 personnel, including around 2,500 from the Russian armed forces, would be involved in exercises in Belarus as part of the upcoming West-2021 drills from 10-16 September. 

Belarus remains Russia’s only defence partner in Europe and the only country outside the Western sphere of influence, with Serbia being a partial exception. Tensions between the Soviet successor state and the Western bloc notably escalated in 2020 as Western powers imposed economic penalties on Minsk and strongly supported anti-government rioters and protesters calling for political Westernisation within their borders. 

This support included NATO member states launching propaganda balloons into Belarus, which were intercepted by helicopters from the country. Belarusian officials previously warned of the threat posed by NATO, in particular from the expansion of American military facilities in neighbouring Poland and from the U.S. withdrawal from the INF treaty in 2019 which allowed it to deploy longer-ranged land-based missiles to Europe. 

The country's armed forces warned in May 2021 that NATO was training to conduct strikes against the Belarusian territory. 

Belarus has invested in acquiring modern Russian armaments including S-400 air defence systems, which could be complemented by additional units in future, as well as Su-30SM fighters which are currently the heaviest combat jets built for air to air combat deployed by any European country.

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