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Kremlin wants to use Belarusian military industry to strengthen Russian army

Saturday, 18 February 2023, 04:35
Kremlin wants to use Belarusian military industry to strengthen Russian army

The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) believes that the Russian Federation intends to absorb elements of the Belarusian defence industry as part of the Kremlin's efforts to rearm the Russian army to support the ongoing war against Ukraine.

Source: Report by the ISW

Details: The institute's analysts recalled the statement of Alexander Lukashenko, the self-proclaimed President of Belarus, who said on 17 February during a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow that the Belarusian aerospace industry was ready to manufacture Su-25 attack aircraft for the Russian military with the support of Russian technology.

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Lukashenko also said that the Belarusian state-owned Minsk Automobile Plant had begun manufacturing components for Russia's KAMAZ [Kama Automobile Plant, which produces trucks, buses, and engines] and expressed readiness to help Russia produce electronic components to replace lost Western imports.

He also said that Belarus is 100% fulfilling the unspecified agreements on defence and security cooperation, which Belarus and Russia agreed on "three months ago."

The ISW believes that Russia will more actively use the Belarusian military industry  to strengthen its own military potential.

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Quote: "Additional Su-25s and truck parts are likely not critical material for the success of Russia’s long-term war effort. The Kremlin may commandeer Belarusian factories and retool them to produce critical materiel that the Russian military needs, Lukashenko's statements notwithstanding. The Russians might also seek to repurpose Russian factories currently involved in or tooled for the production of Su-25s and trucks to produce more urgently needed materiel. 

ISW previously assessed that Russian forces began using Belarusian training grounds and trainers to train mobilized Russians to compensate for Russia's degraded training capacity. The Kremlin appears to be similarly incorporating elements of Belarus' DIB to augment Russian defense output as Putin seeks to reinvigorate Russia's DIB to support a protracted war with Ukraine."

Key ISW Takeaways as of 17 February 2023

  • The Kremlin will likely subsume elements of Belarus' defense industrial base (DIB) as part of Moscow's larger effort to reequip the Russian military to support a protracted war against Ukraine.
  • Lukashenko confirmed that Belarus has implemented more Union State integration programs – marking progress in the Kremlin's decades-long pressure campaign to formalize the Russian-Belarusian Union State.
  • The Kremlin's gains in Belarus underscore that Putin’s imperialistic ambitions transcend Ukraine and that containing the Russian threat requires the West's sustained attention.
  • The Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) confirmed the names of the four military district commanders, finalizing a complete turnover of the Russian military's initial command since the start of the invasion of Ukraine.
  • Wagner Group financier Yevgeny Prigozhin appears to be mounting an informational counteroffensive against the conventional Russian military establishment.
  • Russian forces continued offensive operations along the Svatove-Kreminna line.
  • Russian forces continued ground attacks around Bakhmut, in the Donetsk City-Avdiivka area, and in western Donetsk Oblast.
  • Russian and Ukrainian military activity near Nova Kakhovka, Kherson Oblast indicates that Russian forces are likely deployed to positions close bank of the Dnipro River.
  • The United Kingdom Ministry of Defense (UK MoD) reported that Russian forces have likely suffered up to 200,000 casualties since the start of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a variety of laws on February 17 to integrate occupied territories into Russian legal, economic, and administrative structures.

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