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Ukraine War Update: Why Is Putin Sending Air Defenses to Belarus?

Tor-M2. Image Credit: Creative Commons.

Russia Transfers Air Defense Systems to Belarus – Independent news outlet Belarusian Hajun reported this week how a large convoy of Russian military equipment was seen arriving in Belarus.

According to the report, at least 15 Tor-M2 surface-to-air missile systems were seen among the vehicles and weapons heading to the country, which lies to the west of Ukraine, along with 10 engineering vehicles.

According to the outlet, the convoy of vehicles and weapons left the Yeysk railway station in Russia on November 25 and arrived in Orsha-Centraljnaya, Belarus, on November 28.

The vehicles and weapons then headed to Borisov station, arriving later the same day.

It follows the deployment of Russian troops to Belarus in October, which was described by Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko as a response to NATO provocations on the border.

The regional group of forces was reportedly made up largely of Belarusian soldiers with Russian troops brought in as reinforcements.

In recent days, Russian generals traveled to Belarus to oversee the training of Russian Army reservists in Belarus. Belaruski Hajun revealed that senior Russian military officials arrived in the country to “inspect the joint training of the so-called regional joint force (RJF0 at the training grounds in Belarus.”

This Has Happened Before in Belarus

As a local Belarusian railway worker told the news outlet, this is “not the last military equipment convoy arriving with cargo of this type.”

Convoys like this have been seen in Belarus before and could be seen again as Russian forces continue to oversee training exercises for troops in Belarus.

Convoys like this were seen in early February, before the Russian invasion of Ukraine began. Russian S-400 anti-aircraft missile systems arrived in Ukraine before the invasion as part of joint drills with troops practicing reinforcing sections of the Belarusian border.

Lukashenko Reluctantly Assists

While Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko remains willing to assist Russia in many ways, he also suggested in November that Russian President Vladimir Putin should bring the conflict to an end.

Speaking in an interview on November 23, Lukashenko said that continuing the war in Ukraine would ultimately lead to the “complete destruction of Ukraine” – something the Kremlin has insisted the Russian military does not intend to do.

“Not because I want to push this topic on Zelenskyy or on Ukraine. Indeed, everything is now in the hands of Ukraine,” Lukashenko said in the interview.

“If they don’t want people to die, and in huge numbers. It is difficult, hard, but we must stop, we must stop this, because then there will be a complete destruction of Ukraine. This is not what Putin once said long before the ‘operation,’ that it would threaten the loss of statehood. It would be the destruction of Ukraine. We need to stop,” he added.

Jack Buckby is 19FortyFive’s Breaking News Editor.

Written By

Jack Buckby is 19FortyFive's Breaking News Editor. He is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.