KYIV ($1=36.90 Ukrainian Hryvnias) — For several days now, videos of trains loaded with Russian tanks crossing Belarusian territory have been shared on social media. The final destination of the tank brigades is said to be Belarus’ border with Ukraine.
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According to reports, it is about the most elite tank brigades of Russia, intended in principle to protect the capital Moscow. According to sources in Belarus, Russian tankers are conducting exercises with their Belarusian counterparts. Information about the presence of a top-class tank brigade – the 1st Guards Tank Army in Belarus has been confirmed by Ukrainian intelligence.
The 1st Guards Tank Army in its part of the 2nd Motorized Rifle Division of the Western Military District of the Russian Federation is in the process of training and combat coordination. This is what the Deputy Chief of the General Staff, Brigadier General Alexey Gromov, says in his statement. According to the high-ranking officer, in addition to Russians, units of the Belarusian tank division also took part in the exercises.
February – March
The 1st Guards Tank Army [GTA] is considered the elite of Russian tank forces, according to a UK intelligence statement. Its main purpose is the defense of the Russian capital Moscow and conducting counterattacks with NATO units. Sources recall that the deep penetration of Russian tanks in the decline of the war [February-March] near the Ukrainian capital Kyiv was carried out precisely by the 1st GTA, after which there was a withdrawal and restructuring back to Belarus.
However, the “withdrawal” as defined by the Russian media is not precisely defined according to their reports. BulgarianMilitary.com recalls that the Ukrainian armed forces prevailed over these tank brigades at the beginning of the war after receiving rapid deliveries of man-portable anti-tank missile systems.
Russia tries not to remind its citizens, but Russian tank brigades have suffered abject failures in their assault on Kyiv. Seeing the beginning losses of Russian land vehicles, and the destruction of tanks more than the Russian planned losses, Moscow was forced to deploy the 4th Guards Tank Division [GTD] and two regiments of the 2nd Guards Motorized Rifle Division to the front around Kharkiv then.
90 tanks lost
And if the Russian tankers enjoyed comfort during the artillery war between Russia and Ukraine in the summer of 2022, immediately after August, on September 6, Ukraine’s counteroffensive began. Then Russia’s 4th Guards Tank Division [GTD] and the reinforced 4th Tank Brigade came together. It was this Ukrainian tank brigade that allegedly knocked out half of the Russian 4th GTD. The defeat of the Russians was all the more painful as it came as a result of upgraded Ukrainian tanks from the outdated Soviet T-72 and T-64 models.
According to unconfirmed information based on photographs, but with unclear location and date, at least 90 T-80U tanks were lost by the Russian armed forces in this battle. At the same time, evidence began to arrive in the form of photographic material of intact and abandoned Russian tanks of the T-80 series.
The exercises of the Russian tankers of the 1st GTA in Belarus and the brick movement along the axis towards the Ukrainian border come at a time when the Russian President Mr. Vladimir Putin is visiting Belarus and holding talks with his colleague Mr. Alexander Lukashenko. Some political analysts say it is an attempt by Mr. Putin to drag Ukraine and Belarus into war. Until now, officially Belarus only helps the Russian army by allowing it to deploy its weapons systems on Belarusian territory.
Russia pressures Belarus
There are no reports of an increased Russian presence in Belarus. For at least a few weeks now, Ukrainian intelligence has been monitoring the movement of Russian armed forces in Belarus. According to Ukrainian intelligence, as many as 20,000 conscripts are being prepared to be sent by Moscow to Belarus in preparation for another invasion, this time targeting Ukraine’s capital.
“Last week, one battalion set of tanks each was moved to the Obuz-Lesnovsky and Losvido training grounds,” says Brigadier General Gromov. He also added that, in addition to ground equipment, Russia is also sending aircraft, mostly MiGs, capable of launching precision air-to-ground missiles.
Interesting fact 1: Belarus announced about seven days ago that the combat capability of the Belarusian army is currently being tested. The last time Mr. Lukashenko made such an announcement, days later, Russia invaded Ukraine.
BulgarianMilitary.com recalls that a few days ago the two military ministers [of Russia and Belarus] signed an agreement on military cooperation and collective defense. The details of the agreement remain unclear at this time.
All this leads to new tensions in the region. Official Kyiv is concerned whether Russia is preparing another invasion of Ukraine, amid all these events in the last up to seven days.
Meanwhile, Kremlin spokesman Mr. Dmitry Peskov dismissed speculation that Belarus could become directly involved in the war, telling reporters on December 19 that such reports were based on “absolutely stupid, baseless fabrications.”
Interesting fact 2: Mr. Peskov is repeating the words he used to refute American warnings in January that Russia would attack Ukraine.
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