Russian Defence Minister inspects large reserve force of personnel and T-90 tanks as they prepare for clash with NATO proxy forces in the Donbass as Poland deploys troops to the Belarusian border
Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu has inspected newly formed military units during drills based on combat experience gained during 500 days of the Ukraine conflict.
In a statement on Saturday, the ministry said that Shoigu had checked “the organization of combat training of contract soldiers in newly formed military units” at the training grounds of the Southern Military District, without specifying the exact location.
The military personnel are receiving instruction in tactics and weapons proficiency while learning how to drive and fire from tanks, with a focus on how to destroy Ukraine’s Western-supplied hardware. The entire intensified combat training course takes 38 days, the ministry said.
Shoigu inspected troops that are honing their combat skills on Russian T-90 tanks, the ministry noted, adding that service members have a high opinion of the advanced armour, the statement read.
Shoigu said last month that Russia was recruiting a massive reserve force. At the time, the minister said that on average about 1,300 people – roughly equivalent to one regiment – join the military under a contract every day.
Shiogu inspects troops
In total, some 114,000 contract soldiers and 52,000 volunteers had enlisted in the army, he added.His remarks came after Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Moscow did not need to call up more soldiers for now, noting that the army was enjoying a steady inflow of volunteers.
Russia announced a partial mobilisation last September calling to arms some 300,000 reservists, citing the need to protect the long frontline against Ukrainian troops.
NATO member Poland meanwhile says it will deploy hundreds of soldiers and vehicles to the border with Belarus, its military has said, stressing the need to prevent “attempts to destabilize” the region.
Minsk has levied similar allegations against Warsaw, claiming Belarusian coup-plotters are being trained on Polish soil.
Warsaw’s 12th Mechanized Division, part of the Polish Land Forces, announced the operation on Friday. In the coming days, around 1,000 troops and 200 units of equipment will be stationed in the eastern province of Podlaskie, on the border with Belarus. “The aim of Operation ‘Safe Podlaskie’ is to demonstrate our will and ability to respond immediately to attempts to destabilise the situation at our border,” the division said.
While the military offered few details about the mission, Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak appeared to refer to the move earlier on Friday. Speaking to a local media outlet, Mariusz said Warsaw is working to “deter a potential aggressor” and vowed to “respond to all these threats.”
He went on to claim that Poland was “attacked in a hybrid way from the territory of Belarus” two years ago, an apparent reference to the so-called EU border crisis in 2021.
“The Polish Army already has over 175,000 soldiers under arms. Thank you very much for the fact that so many people volunteer to serve in the Polish Army. It is very important that Poland is safe,” the minister added.A close ally of Moscow, Minsk has also accused Poland of harboring Belarusian exiles allegedly training for an insurrection in their home country.
The government has said it was closely monitoring the militants, stating that fighters are also hosted in training camps based in Ukraine, Latvia, Lithuania, and the Czech Republic.
“We know particular recruitment posts; know who is involved. We know the training camps, the identities of instructors, who teaches which parts of the course,” Belarus’ security chief, Ivan Tertel, said in April.
In an interview with Russian state TV last month, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko explained that Minsk would enter the conflict in Ukraine “if aggression is committed against us,” warning of potential attacks from the territory of Poland, Ukraine, or any of the Baltic states.