As Russian troops mass in Belarus, a Ukrainian border is largely undefended

NOVI YARYLOVYCHI BORDER CROSSING, Ukraine – Across this border into northern Ukraine, not visible through the thick pine and birch fores...

NOVI YARYLOVYCHI BORDER CROSSING, Ukraine – Across this border into northern Ukraine, not visible through the thick pine and birch forests that clutter the E-95 highway but noticeable to truckers from Passage, a force is gathering in Belarus more powerful than any seen in the country since the fall of the Soviet Union, say officials and military analysts.

Russia has deployed tanks and artillery, fighter jets and helicopters, advanced rocket systems and troops by the thousands across Belarus, increasing a combat force that already envelops Ukraine like an iron horse on three sides. Russia says troops have deployed for military exercises due to begin next month, but the buildup in Belarus could presage an attack from a new vector, close to the Ukrainian capital, Kiev.

With much of Ukraine’s military power concentrated in the country’s east – where a war with Russian-backed separatists has been raging for eight years – military analysts and Ukraine’s own generals say it will be difficult for the country to muster the forces necessary to defend its northern border. .

“As a result of Russia’s takeover of Belarus, 1,070 kilometers of our border with Belarus have become a threat,” Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov said, referring to a distance of about 665 miles. This is not a threat from Belarus – Ukraine has a very warm attitude towards the Belarusian people – but a threat from Russia that crosses Belarus.

The Novi Yarylovychi border crossing is a quick 140-mile drive straight from the Belarusian border south of Kiev on a highway that’s mostly freshly paved thanks to President Volodymyr Zelensky’s efforts to remedy the poor condition of Ukraine’s roads. It would be an easy ride for any Russian tank driver as long as Russian forces eliminate Ukrainian air power and artillery first, and Javelin anti-tank missiles supplied to the Ukrainian military by the United States remain deployed in the area. eastern Ukraine.

On the Ukrainian side of the border, preparations to repel a possible military incursion are largely non-existent. Last fall, Ukraine deployed 8,500 troops to its northern border, a mix of border police, national guard forces and military that was mainly aimed at preventing Belarus from sending migrants from the Middle East. at the border as it had done in Poland and Lithuania.

Although this force remains in the border region, its members have left the vicinity of Novi Yarylovychi. There are now only a handful of border guards, armed with automatic rifles, posted at the post, little deterrence if a unit of Russian tanks makes a sudden push towards the capital. A truck driver carrying candle wax who had just crossed into Ukraine and would only give his first name, Yevgeni, said he saw columns of military vehicles, including armored personnel carriers with license plates indicating that they came from the Ryazan region southeast of Moscow.

“There are mile-long columns there, escorted by police,” he said.

Indeed, new troops, armor and equipment are pouring into Belarus daily. News reports from Belarus showed local officials flanked by Belarusian women in traditional dress, greeting Russian military commanders with loaves of bread and salt, a traditional welcome.

Russia is deploying some of its most advanced and best-equipped forces at nine different bases and airfields around Belarus, the Russian Defense Ministry said. Already, highly trained special forces units and airborne troops, as well as powerful S-400 anti-aircraft systems and hundreds of aircraft have begun arriving at bases across the country, according to Ukrainian and Western officials.

The aim of the exercises, named “Allied Resolve”, is to “develop different options for jointly neutralizing threats and stabilizing the situation at the borders”, Russian Deputy Defense Minister Aleksandr V. Fomin said during a a meeting with foreign military attachés in Moscow this month.

Dressed in green camouflage, Aleksei Shevchuk, the border crossing’s first deputy commander, said he and his comrades would be ready to fight if Russian forces appeared on the border. But he acknowledged that they couldn’t do much against Russian tanks.

“Visually, we don’t see anything, neither equipment, nor people, nor the Belarusian armed forces near the post,” he said. “In the event of an invasion or other non-standard situation on the state border, we will act, but at the moment everything is going according to plan.”

Historically, Belarus has caused few problems for Ukraine. Although its authoritarian leader, Alexander G. Lukashenko, is perhaps closer to Moscow than any other post-Soviet head of state, he had in the past largely avoided choosing sides in the Ukraine-Russia conflict. That changed after the August 2020 presidential elections, when Russian intelligence services were forced to come to his aid amid an outbreak of sprawling protests against his rule.

Since then, he has recognized Russia’s annexation of Crimea and has pledged to support Moscow in any military action involving Ukraine. Like his Russian counterpart, Vladimir V. Putin, he, without providing evidence, accused Ukraine of aggravating tensions and threatening war.

“Ten years ago, we could not have imagined that a time like today would come when we had to establish military units and a whole union for the defense of our southern border,” Lukashenko said. said during a visit to Belarusian military bases this month. And in a address to the nation On Friday, Mr Lukashenko accused the West of seeking to “drown Russian-Ukrainian brotherhood in blood”.

Mr Reznikov, Ukraine’s defense minister, said Russia could use the territory of Belarus to threaten not just Ukraine but “all of Europe”, although he expressed hope that diplomacy and de-escalation would prevail.

Some European leaders are less optimistic. While military analysts say there is little chance at the moment that Mr Lukashenko, let alone Mr Putin, risks open war with a NATO country, the leaders of Eastern Europe , especially in Poland and the Baltic countries, are increasingly nervous.

“We are reaching the point where the continued military build-up of Russia and Belarus in Europe must be addressed by appropriate NATO countermeasures,” said Edgars Rinkēvičs, Latvian Foreign Minister. tweeted this week. Tuesday, the Pentagon put 8,500 soldiers on “high alert”, as President Biden weighed sending more assets strengthen NATO units in Eastern Europe.

Jens Stoltenberg, NATO secretary general, accused Russia this week of pursuing a military build-up in Belarus “under the disguise of an exercise”.

“These are highly skilled, combat-ready troops, and there is no transparency about these deployments,” he said. “It adds to the tensions and it shows that there is no de-escalation. On the contrary, it is in fact more troops, more capacities in more countries.

Some in Ukraine have criticized the government for not doing enough to strengthen the country’s defenses, on the Belarusian border or elsewhere.

“The biggest danger is that Ukrainian forces are mainly concentrated in eastern Ukraine, but the closest route to Kiev is through Belarus,” said Arseny Yatsenyuk, who was Ukraine’s prime minister when war broke out in 2014. “It is equally urgent to send additional military units to protect Kyiv as a capital, to erect military roadblocks. This is what we did in 2014.”

Ukrainians working in a strip of shops and offices in the shadow of the Novi Yarylovychi border crossing said they were not completely convinced war was inevitable, at least so far from the conflict zone at the ‘is. But they had detected a change in the air.

“People have started driving less often because television is making it worse,” said Viktor Beznoshenko, who runs a small travel insurance office.

Although he said he doubted Russia would launch a broader war against Ukraine, he compared Moscow to a 6ft 5in neighbor who wakes up one morning and decides to push his fence deeper on your property.

“Belarus decided, ‘Well, okay, let him move the fence,'” he said. “But Ukraine does not want to accept this. We’re not going to let him move his fence.

As Yuri Lukasevich, a truck driver, prepared to drive his semi-truck through the border crossing into Belarus, he said he hoped that if Russia attacked, the United States and NATO would intervene. to help Ukraine.

What if that doesn’t happen?

“We will fight,” he said. “We are Ukrainians. We are ready for anything.

Steven Erlanger contributed reporting from Brussels.

Source Link



Africa,957,Americas,4374,Art & Culture,16176,Arts,6814,Arts & Design,1919,Asia,3599,Automobile,572,Baseball,836,Basketball,682,Books,4228,Business,5705,Celebrity,2633,Cricket,648,Crime,158,Cryptocurrency,2166,Dance,715,Defense,836,Diplomatic Relations,2496,Economy,1394,Editorial,260,Education,1515,Elections,308,Energy & Environment,3190,Entertainment,23696,Environment,3970,Europe,4557,Faith & Religion,235,Family & Life,817,Fashion & Style,3670,Finance,21881,Food & Drink,4144,Football,1311,Games,97,Gossip,10289,Health & Fitness,4495,Health Care,967,Hockey,271,Home & Garden,920,Humour,994,Latin America,49,Lifestyle,18576,Media,527,Middle East,1758,Movies,2053,Music,2979,Opinion,4079,Other,13210,Other Sports,5484,Political News,11324,Political Protests,2324,Politics,18863,Real Estate,2305,Relationship,106,Retail,3116,Science,2975,Science & Tech,11192,Soccer,382,Space & Cosmos,450,Sports,13588,Technology,3797,Tennis,729,Theater,1970,Transportation,313,Travel,2853,TV,4023,US,1565,US Sports,1481,Video News,3531,War & Conflict,1069,Weird News,998,World,18219,
Newsrust - US Top News: As Russian troops mass in Belarus, a Ukrainian border is largely undefended
As Russian troops mass in Belarus, a Ukrainian border is largely undefended
Newsrust - US Top News
Loaded All Posts Not found any posts VIEW ALL Readmore Reply Cancel reply Delete By Home PAGES POSTS View All RECOMMENDED FOR YOU LABEL ARCHIVE SEARCH ALL POSTS Not found any post match with your request Back Home Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat January February March April May June July August September October November December Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec just now 1 minute ago $$1$$ minutes ago 1 hour ago $$1$$ hours ago Yesterday $$1$$ days ago $$1$$ weeks ago more than 5 weeks ago Followers Follow THIS PREMIUM CONTENT IS LOCKED STEP 1: Share to a social network STEP 2: Click the link on your social network Copy All Code Select All Code All codes were copied to your clipboard Can not copy the codes / texts, please press [CTRL]+[C] (or CMD+C with Mac) to copy Table of Content