Data by the Belarusian Hajun monitoring group September 24, 2023
According to point f of Article 3 of UN General Assembly Resolution 3314 (XXIX) of December 14, 1974, the “Definition of aggression,” an act of aggression is (among other things) “the action of a State in allowing its territory, which it has placed at the disposal of another State, to be used by that other State for perpetrating an act of aggression against a third State.”
Since the beginning of the Russian military invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022, the Belarusian Hajun monitoring group has been monitoring the activity of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation (hereinafter — the Russian Armed Forces) on the territory of Belarus. The data collected and verified by us during the monitoring allow us to state that the illegitimate regime of Aliaksandr Lukashenko, which usurped power in Belarus, actively contributed to Russia’s aggression against Ukraine through its actions. The actions of the Lukashenko regime fully meet the criteria for an act of aggression described in Article 3 of the above resolution of the UN General Assembly. Due to this, the actions of the Lukashenko regime must be unambiguously qualified as complicity in Russian aggression against Ukraine.
As a result of the analysis of the data collected during monitoring, the following types of use of the territory and infrastructure of Belarus by the Russian Armed Forces for conducting aggression against Ukraine can be established.
1. Missile strikes from the territory of Belarus
The first launch of a Russian missile against Ukraine from the territory of Belarus was recorded at 06:20 on February 24 — in the first hours of Russia’s invasion. According to our information, from February 24 to March 6, 2023, at least 721 missiles have been launched from the territory of Belarus against Ukraine. The greatest intensity of missile launches was recorded in the period from late February to early April 2022. Missile strikes resumed at the end of June 2022. The last missile strike was recorded on October 6, 2022. The decrease in the number of missile strikes since the beginning of April can be explained by the withdrawal of the main contingent of the Russian troops and their transfer to the eastern and southern theaters of military operations.
It should be noted that while from February to April 2022 missile strikes were conducted primarily using tactical and operational-tactical missile systems, then since the end of May 2022, there has been a tendency to launch missile strikes by aircraft of the Russian Aerospace Forces. Often their attacks were as follows: aircraft of the Russian Aerospace Forces entered Belarusian airspace, launched missiles at targets in Ukraine, and returned to Russia. The last recorded missile strike was launched according to this scenario on October 6, 2022.
We note that there were single cases during the monitoring when it was impossible to confirm whether a missile was launched from the territory of Belarus. For example, on May 17, 2022, at 00:27, two fighters took off from Baranavichy airfield. 20 minutes later (at 00:50), missile strikes on the city of Lviv in Ukraine were recorded. However, we couldn’t confirm the launch of these missiles by aircraft from the Belarusian airspace.
On February 23, 2023, Oleksiy Gromov, the Deputy Chief of the Main Operational Department of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, stated that since the beginning of the full-scale invasion, Russia had launched about 5 thousand missiles against the territory of Ukraine. Thus, the Russian Armed Forces launched about 14% of all missiles on the territory of Ukraine from Belarus at that time.
Firing positions of the Russian Armed Forces were mainly located in the areas bordering Ukraine in Homiel region (Mazyr, Kalinkavichy and Khoiniki districts). We also recorded missile launches from the Svetlahorsk district, from the vicinity of Ziabrauka airfield (Homiel district), Luninets (Brest region), from the Slutsk and Salihorsk districts (Minsk region), etc. Launchers of missile systems constantly changed their firing positions and were not located in one place.
The Russian Armed Forces used Iskander and Tochka-U missile systems for missile strikes. Despite the statements made by the command staff of the Russian Armed Forces that Tochka-U systems were not used in military actions in Ukraine, there is evidence of the transfer of these systems to Belarus.
In April 2023, a representative of the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine also claimed that kamikaze drones were periodically launched from the territory of Belarus. However, we have no information that could unequivocally confirm or deny the claim mentioned above
The animated infographic shows the chronology of missile launches from the territory of Belarus in the period from February 24 to October 6, 2022.
2.Providing military training grounds for the training and accommodation of the Russian military
In October 2022, the deployment of the joint regional group of troops of Belarus and Russia was announced. The official reason for its deployment was the military threat on the borders of the Union State. In mid-October, the Russian military began to arrive in Belarus by trains. Field camps were set up at the training grounds of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Belarus (hereinafter — the Belarusian Armed Forces) to accommodate the Russian military. Russian soldiers are stationed at the following training grounds at different time:
— the 230th combined arms training ground Obuz-Liasnouski;
— the 174th training ground of the Air Force and Air Defense Forces Damanava;
— Lasvida training ground of the 103rd Airborne Brigade;
— Asipovichski training ground of the 51st Artillery Brigade (Repishcha);
— Lepelski training ground of the 19th Mechanized Brigade;
— Chapialiova training ground of the 11th Mechanized Brigade.
Since October 2022, the entire infrastructure of the training grounds of the Belarusian Armed Forces has been provided to the Russian Armed Forces. This gives the Russian military an opportunity to train intensively and prepare for further participation in combat operations in Ukraine.
Russian tank and infantry fighting vehicle crews were also trained at the 72nd joint training center of the Belarusian Armed Forces. We note that in December 2022, the training center’s facilities were renovated, which made it possible to increase the number of cadets being trained.
Both Russian and Belarusian instructors took part in the training of Russian soldiers. Lukashenko himself confirmed the training of the Russian Armed Forces by the Belarusian military. It is known that servicemen of the Special Operations Forces of the Belarusian Armed Forces and instructors of military educational institutions were involved in the training of Russian servicemen.
3. Aviation deployment
The use by the Russian Armed Forces of airfields of the Air Force of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Belarus (hereinafter — the Belarusian Air Force), as well as civilian airports, can be divided into two stages:
The first stage — February-April 2022: the beginning of a full-scale invasion and offensive operation in the Kyiv oblast;
The second stage — from October 2022 until now: after the deployment of the joint regional grouping of troops.
The third stage — from August 2023 until now.
During the first stage, airfields and airports were used for:
- supplies of ammunition and food to the group of the Russian Armed Forces stationed in Belarus and advancing in the direction of Kyiv;
- strikes on Ukrainian military and civilian facilities;
- conducting aerial reconnaissance;
- transporting wounded (dead) soldiers of the Russian Armed Forces.
The Russian Armed Forces used Belarusian airfields in Lida, Baranavichy, Luninets, the village of Vialiki Bokau (Mazyr district) , in Ziabrauka (Homiel district) , Machulishchy, and Babruisk. In addition to military airfields, Homiel civilian airport was also used both for launching strikes on Ukraine with UAV and for sanitary purposes (including the storage and sending of bodies of the killed Russian soldiers to Russia), as well as to supply the military base at Ziabrauka airfield in the Homiel district (see paragraph 8).
It can also be noted that the Russian Armed Forces used roads and fields for the takeoffs and landings of helicopters. We can also mention the involvement of the Belarusian personnel in air traffic control.
During the second stage, airfields and airports were used for:
— the deployment of the Russian aviation component of the regional group of troops;
— the conduct of training flights;
— the supply of the Russian contingent of the regional group of troops;
— the conduct of aerial reconnaissance.
During the second stage, the Russian Aerospace Forces use Baranavichy, Luninets, Machulishchy airfields and Homiel airport.
Three MiG-31K fighter-interceptors of the Russian Aerospace Forces (RF-92462, RF-92339 and RF-92333) arrived in Belarus on October 16, 2022 within the framework of deployment of the joint regional group of troops of Belarus and Russia. This group of aircraft was in Belarus until December 1, 2022. On December 13, 2022, a new group of three MiG-31K of the Russian Aerospace Forces (RF-95194, RF-92445 and RF-92215) arrived at Machulishchy airfield. These aircraft left Belarus on April 6, 2023, and never returned.
Also, the A-50U airborne early warning and control (hereinafter — AEW&C) aircraft was at Machulishchy airfield: from December 14 to December 30, 2022 — RF-93966; from January 3 to March 2, 2023 — RF-50608.
MiG-31K and A-50U AEW&C aircraft conducted an average of 8-11 flights per month.
After the joint military Airforce drills held from January 16 to February 1, 2023, the aviation group of the Russian Aerospace Forces in Belarus included:
— bombers: 4 units of Su-34 and 2 units of Su-24MR (were stationed at Baranavichy airfield);
— fighters: 7 units of Su-30 (Su-30SM) and 3 units of MiG-31K (were stationed at Baranavichy airfield and Machulishchy airfield, respectively);
— helicopters: 12 units of Mi-8 and Mi-24 helicopters (during the drills, they were redeployed to Luninets airfield, later they were redeployed to Machulishchy airfield).
At the beginning of August 2023, the entire aviation group was withdrawn from Belarus.
It should be noted that during the second stage of the use of Belarusian airfields and airports, aircraft of the Russian Aerospace Forces were not used to launch missile strikes on the territory of Ukraine. However, after MiG-31K fighters took off from Machulishchy airfield, an air alert was going off throughout Ukraine. This is explained by the fact that the aircraft can use Kinzhal hypersonic missiles. There is evidence that the aircraft perform their flights with such missiles on board.
During the third stage, airfields and airports are occasionally used to receive military transport aircraft of the Russian Aerospace Forces. According to available information, only one Su-25 attack aircraft may currently be stationed at Lida airfield.
4. Use of transport infrastructure
There is undisputed evidence of the invasion of units of the Russian Armed Forces to Ukraine from Belarus in the morning of February 24. Military equipment of the Russian Armed Forces that entered Ukraine from Belarus was primarily marked with a “V” sign. Later, burnt equipment with this sign was seen in Kyiv oblast.
The Russian Armed Forces actively used the railway infrastructure of Belarus. Initially for the transfer of a military group (prior to the “Union Resolve-2022” drills) and later – for the transportation of reinforcement troops, supplying the group of troops that was advancing towards Kyiv, and for the removal of the wounded soldiers, damaged military equipment and material assets seized in Ukraine.
The following railway stations were most actively used:
- Homiel region: Homiel (Paunochny, Niacotny), Rechytsa, Yelsk, Mazyr, Khoiniki, Naroulya, Ziabrauka, Kozenki (Mazyr district)
- Minsk region: Kalodzishchy
- Brest region: Luninets, Baranavichy
The Russian Armed Forces also actively used the road infrastructure of Belarus to move their units. The following main routes for movements of equipment of the Russian Armed Forces can be distinguished:
- Khoiniki-Brahin-Kamaryn, etc.;
Armored vehicles, missile systems, trucks, fuel trucks, etc. were moving along the roads.
After the retreat from Kyiv oblast at the end of March 2022 and the withdrawal of troops from the territory of Belarus, the activity of movements of the Russian Armed Forces by roads and railroads decreased. Everything changed after the deployment of the joint regional group of troops of Belarus and Russia in October 2022. This led to an increase in the intensity of movements of the Russian Armed Forces on the territory of Belarus, which continues to this day.
The following railway stations were most often used by the Russian Armed Forces to transfer their units:
— Mahiliou region: Asipovichy-1 and Veraitsy;
— Brest region: Palonka and Liasnaya;
— Vitsiebsk region: Lasvida and Zaslonava.
We note that mobilized Russians arrive in Belarus from Russia by rail to the stations mentioned above, where they complete military training at training grounds of the Belarusian Armed Forces. After the training, they are transported by rail to the combat zone.
Roads were actively used for the movements of columns with military equipment of the Russian Armed Forces. Movements of the Russian equipment are most often localized in the areas where the troops are concentrated. Most often columns consist of supply equipment, such as fuel trucks and trucks.
Currently, almost no movements of Russian military equipment have been recorded. The only exceptions are the vicinity of Mazyr and Homiel, where Russian military are still stationed.
5. Providing medical care to Russian soldiers
Since the first days of the war, there was information about the provision of medical care to Russian soldiers in Belarus wounded in Ukraine. There is evidence that medical care was provided in the following health care institutions:
— Republican scientific and practical center for radiation medicine and human ecology (Homiel);
— Mazyr town hospital;
— Yelsk central district hospital;
— Khoiniki central district hospital;
— Homiel city and regional clinical hospitals;
— Minsk regional clinical hospital for disabled veterans of the Great Patriotic War named after P.M. Masherov / Minsk regional clinical hospital (Liasnoi agro-town, Minsk district, Minsk region).
We can specifically mention the field hospital, which was deployed in Naroulya (Homiel region). Also, the movement of medical vehicles of the Russian Armed Forces carrying wounded servicemen was regularly recorded in Mazyr and Homiel. It should be noted that the Belarusian authorities explained the provision of medical care by the existence of special interstate agreements with Russia.
Additional evidence of the treatment of wounded servicemen of the Russian Armed Forces is the collection of food and clothes for the wounded Russian soldiers. It is also worth noting that in March 2022, an acute shortage of blood was reported due to the large number of wounded Russian soldiers.
After the deployment of the joint regional group of troops of Belarus and Russia and the transfer of a large number of Russian soldiers to Belarus, Belarusian doctors continued to provide assistance to the Russian military. For example, on October 18, 2022, a medical unit (special purpose) of the 432nd main military clinical medical center of the Belarusian Armed Forces set up a field hospital at Obuz-Liasnouski training ground. The largest field camp of the Russian military in Belarus is located at this training ground.
Russian soldiers also applied to civilian health care facilities of Belarus for medical assistance. Such information was received from Vitsiebsk, Baranavichy and Asipovichy. In exceptional cases, Russian soldiers were hospitalized in the 432nd medical center in Minsk. For example, as of December 1, 2022, at least 10 soldiers of the Russian Armed Forces (including those with gunshot and stab wounds of a criminal nature) were being treated in the 432nd center.
6. Transfer of fuel, ammunition, military equipment and gear
The Lukashenko regime provided fuel to the Russian Armed Forces that invaded Ukraine in February 2022. We have recorded facts of fuel transfer to the Russian Armed Forces at:
- Mazyr Oil Refinery;
- the 2657th fuel base (military unit 55435 of the Belarusian Armed Forces, Baranavichy);
- the 2766th fuel base (military unit 55461 of the Belarusian Armed Forces, Chyrvony Berah, Zhlobin district, Homiel region).
After the deployment of the joint regional group of troops of Belarus and Russia, fuel supplies to the Russian Armed Forces from the 2657th fuel base of the Belarusian Armed Forces continued.
The transfer of ammunition from storages of the Belarusian Armed Forces were also recorded. The transfer of ammunition was recorded from at least the following facilities:
- the 46th arsenal of missiles and ammunition, military unit 67878 of the Belarusian Armed Forces (Bronnaya Hara village, Biaroza district, Brest region).
- the 1393rd artillery ammunition base, military unit 52208 of the Belarusian Armed Forces (Prybor village, Homiel district, Homiel region).
We can also mention the transfer of at least 80 missiles for S-300 SAM system to Russia.
In total, from January 2022 to January 2023, the Lukashenko regime transferred 131,582 tons of ammunition to Russia. The ammunition was transferred from:
- the 43rd Missile and Ammunition Arsenal;
- the 46th Missile and Ammunition Arsenal;
- the 391st Artillery Base;
- the 1393rd Artillery Ammunition Base;
- the 1405th Artillery Base;
- the 1868th Artillery Weapons Base;
- the 4970th Engineering Ammunition Base.
Limited transfers of ammunition continued in 2023. According to our information, ammunition was transferred from the 391st Artillery Ammunition Base, the 3609th Artillery Ammunition Depot, and the 4970th Engineering Ammunition Base. It is possible that the transfer of ammunition was related to supplying the Russian military, who were being trained in Belarus.
There is also reliable information that the Lukashenko regime was supplying mercenaries of PMC Wagner with ammunition.
We also recorded the transfer of military equipment (in October 2022). According to our data, in total, 211 units of military equipment were transferred to the Russian Armed Forces. Among them: 98 T-72A tanks (equivalent to three battalion sets), 60 BMP-2 infantry fighting vehicles, and at least 53 Ural trucks. The equipment was sent to Rostov and Belgorod oblasts of Russia bordering Ukraine. The transferred military equipment was taken out of storage from the following storage bases of the Belarusian Armed Forces: the 969th tank reserve base (Urechcha, Luban district, Minsk region) and the 288th vehicle reserve base (Stariya Darohi, Minsk region).
According to our information, about 15-20% of stored T-72A tanks and 7-10% of BMP-2 (in good technical condition) could have been transferred from the 969th tank reserve base to Russia. The lack of further transfers of military equipment to Russia by the Lukashenko regime indicates the limited possibilities for such support.
The transfer of military equipment to the Russian Armed Forces is still taking place. For example, according to available information, the 11th Mechanized Brigade is transferring military equipment that is in long-term storage to the Russian Armed Forces. We are talking about trucks (Ural-4320 and ZiL-131). As our source reported, the vehicles are taken out of storage and delivered to the 288th Vehicle Reserve Base of the Belarusian Armed Forces (located in Stariya Darohi), where they are restored and repaired. And then they are sent to the combat zone. Currently, we have no information about the scale of such transfer of equipment from units of the Belarusian Armed Forces.
It was also reported about the non-payable transfer of military gear. For example, a large batch of individual first-aid kits was transferred to the Russian Armed Forces. In general, there are regular reports about the involvement of Belarusian companies in supplies of equipment and gear to the Russian Armed Forces. We may assume that the scale of military and technical cooperation between Belarus and Russia has significantly increased after the beginning of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine and imposition of sanctions.
7. Use of civilian infrastructure for military purposes
We recorded the following facts of the use of Belarusian civilian infrastructure in the interests of the Russian Armed Forces:
- a site for the repair of armored weapons and equipment was deployed on the territory of the Naroulya district Consumer Society ;
- Ethanol enterprise in Mazyr was used as a temporary base for deployment of the Russian Armed Forces;
The following facilities were used for the accommodation of servicemen:
- dormitory of the vocational school No. 68 in Mazyr;
- hotel Euro (Internatsiyanalnaya street, 101, Mazyr);
- hotel Prypiat (Praletarskaya street, 8, Mazyr);
- Yelsk special boarding school;
- buildings at Prudkouski Village Council, 7 and Yanka .Kupala street, 47 in Nahorniya village (Mazyr district, Homiel region).
There was information about the accommodation of Russian soldiers in empty houses in the countryside with the assistance of local authorities. However, this information wasn’t confirmed.
8. Establishing military bases of the Russian Armed Forces in Belarus
After the withdrawal of units of the Russian Armed Forces from Kyiv oblast in late March-early April 2022, not all units were withdrawn from Belarus, part of them remained. At the moment, we can state the formation of several permanent military facilities in the southern regions of Belarus:
1) Ziabrauka airfield. The airfield had been abandoned and was not used for its intended purpose after the withdrawal of the aircraft stationed there in 1994. Everything changed before the beginning of the joint drills “Union Resolve-2022”: Russian military equipment was actively brought to the airfield. During Russia’s offensive on Kyiv, the airfield was used as a helicopter base, a hub for the transportation of wounded and killed Russian soldiers, and as a firing position for missile strikes. Air defense systems of the Russian Armed Forces have still been deployed at the airfield. Earlier (from April to June 2022), missile strikes against Ukraine were launched from the territory of the airfield.
As for Ziabrauka airfield, we are actually talking about the establishment of an illegal military base of the Russian Armed Forces in Belarus, since there are no publicly available interstate agreements, which would regulate the use of the airfield. As noted above, the airfield was used by the Russian Armed Forces for the aggression against Ukraine. Since the air defense systems of the Russian Armed Forces are deployed there, we can conclude that the airfield continues to be used by the Russian Armed Forces for the aggression against Ukraine.
2) Mazyr airfield (Bokau) (Mazyr district). According to the data from open sources, until 2022, the airfield was not used by the military: aircraft of the Ministry of Emergency of Belarus were based there. Before the start of the “Union Resolve-2022” drills, Russian military equipment began to concentrate at the airfield. There is information that the invasion of Ukraine by the Russian Armed Forces started right from Mazyr airfield (Bokau). During the military actions, the airfield was actively used by the Russian Aerospace Forces. The area near the airfield was used to launch missile strikes against Ukraine (the last one was on May 16, 2022). In early April 2022, military equipment was withdrawn from the airfield.
After the withdrawal of most of the Russian troops from the territory of Belarus, equipment for helicopter maintenance was left at the airfield. There was also information that construction work was being carried out at the airfield to deploy air defense equipment and a radar station there. According to satellite images, Russian air defense units armed with S-300/S-400 and Pantsir-S1 SAM systems are currently stationed at the airfield.
The interactive map that we created shows all the reports recorded during the monitoring of movements of the Russian Armed Forces on the territory of Belarus — at airfields, in the airspace, on railway and roads, etc., from February 20 up to the present day. Icons on the map appear in chronological order. There is a timeline at the bottom of the map. By moving the slider, you can see all the messages on a particular day as icons. By clicking the icon you can see a text description of the activity.