According to the US Institute for War Studies (ISW) in Belarus, Russia is continuing to create the conditions for a possible attack on northern Ukraine. The Ukrainian military also announced on Saturday that Russia had deployed battalions there. The ISW experts said that such an attack is still unlikely. But he is possible. And the danger must be taken seriously. The establishment of a field hospital was seen as an indication that Russia could attack from there.
“Field hospitals are not necessary for exercises and can be an indication of the preparation for combat operations,” said the ISW. At the beginning of the year, the establishment of these military hospitals in Belarus was also an indication of this – just before the start of the great Russian invasion. In Belarus, the ruler Alexander Lukashenko, who is politically and financially dependent on Moscow, made his military bases available for the attacks on Ukraine. Ukraine sees Belarus as a war party.
On the other hand, Lukashenko, who arrived in Moscow on Saturday for a new visit, insists that he is not taking part in the war. Lukashenko and Putin will meet for another informal Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) summit on December 26-27. The union of states from the former Soviet republics emerged from the collapse of the USSR a good 30 years ago. The end of the month also marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Soviet Union.
The US institute considers it possible that the deployment of Russian troops in Belarus is a diversionary maneuver. A sabotage attack is also possible to distract the Ukrainian armed forces from the defense in Donbass. Russia could then use the possibly less attention of the Ukrainian troops for an offensive in the Luhansk region in eastern Ukraine or elsewhere, it said.
The head of Ukraine’s military intelligence service, Kyrylo Budanov, also said on Friday that Russia’s activities in Belarus could be an element of the disinformation campaign. Ukraine is able to protect its northern border. Even in the currently most heavily contested city of Bakhmut in the Donbass, the Ukrainian armed forces have the capacity to hold back a much larger number of Russian attackers, it said.