The opinion that Russia needs Belarus to help with “cannon fodder” in the war against Ukraine is wrong. The republic does not have many combat-ready soldiers. That is not why it has strategic value for the Russian Federation. Alexander Alesin, an independent military analyst, said this on the air of the FREEDOM TV channel.
According to him, without prejudice to its western and northwestern borders, Belarus will be able to provide Putin with only 5-6 thousand soldiers.
“The combat strength of the army [of Belarus] without servants is 45 thousand people, the ground forces, those who are literally fighting on the battlefield, are 11 thousand people. The border with “unfriendly” states is 2,500 km,” explains the guest on the air.
For Russia, it is much more important that Belarus is its buffer, which separates it from the NATO countries by almost 1,000 km.
“This gives Russia a certain gain in time and space in the event of an aggravation of the situation in order to take measures for defense. For example, the shelling of Russia with missiles. If these missiles are in the Orsha region (a city on the eastern border of Belarus, – ed.), then they will reach Moscow in 3-5 minutes, if they are in the Brest region and to the west, then this is already 10-15 minutes, Alesin says.
In addition, Belarus is Russia’s springboard, if not for an offensive, then for aggravating the situation and threats.
“The first step for them is to establish a bridgehead so that, if necessary, the Kaliningrad region can be liberated from the “blockade”. It’s called the Suwalki Corridor. This is a difficult area, but I do not rule out that when it gets especially bad, Russia will take advantage of this situation. In addition, the Belarusian “balcony” hangs over Warsaw – 180 km, hangs over Kyiv … Even if Russia does not attack from there in the near future, then it will threaten, threaten, aggravate the situation, ”the independent military analyst believes.
He also noted that Russia is much more interested in the military-industrial complex of Belarus than in soldiers.
“This is a source of exclusive component materials for the Russian military-industrial complex, for creating a satellite constellation, high-precision missiles, armored and tank equipment,” says the guest on the air.
Based on this, the military analyst believes that in the near future Russian strategists will not demand that Belarus enter directly into a war with Ukraine.
“This is a bridgehead. This is a shield. This is the first trench that protects Moscow and the central industrial region [of the Russian Federation] from a hypothetical threat from the West. In this regard, Belarus is more valuable than if it entered the war. At the beginning of the war, the Ukrainian army, which has combat experience and numerical superiority, could defeat the Belarusian troops. And then Russia will have to stretch its front for another 1,000 km and also defend Belarus,” Alexander Alesin believes.
He is also sure that Lukashenka will be able to more or less safely survive the loss of Russia and the victory of Ukraine, while remaining in power.
“He will delicately balance, using his direct non-participation in the conflict in order to once again slip between the trickles of rain … I think the West will not attempt to directly overthrow Lukashenko. He will use his security forces, the KGB, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and special forces to confront internal opposition and those armed oppositionists who threaten to enter Belarus from Ukraine. I believe that nothing threatens him for the next two or three years, ”concluded the broadcast guest.