December 22, 2022
We have been monitoring the activities of the Russians in Belarus, and noting that they have been stockpiling forces there for a while. From December 22, the authorities have restricted entry to the border regions in Gomel Oblast. The Belarusian sources have been reporting near constant transport of men and equipment toward the areas of concentration.
According to insider sources, the Russians have amassed about 90,000 men in Belarus, which they intend to use for a new invasion. As I have reported before, the most likely directions are toward the transportation centers Sarny and Kovel’, then onto Lutsk and Rovno, with ultimate target Lviv (this is where about 70,000 are going to go). There might be feints toward Kyiv and Chernihiv as well, but the numbers there are fairly small (could be up to 20,000 if reinforcements arrive over the next few days). The Russians seem to have sped up the timetable because the original plans apparently called for a force of about 170,000 – 200,000 for this operation. (I wonder what the haste is about, and whether it was this operation that Putin & Co came to Belarus to prepare for.)
The Russian sources claim that they have enough ordinance (which partly explains the shortages at Bakhmut and elsewhere), and that the best units from Kherson and Crimea have been moved to Belarus in Brest and Pinsk. I also reported about them moving a lot of Wagnerites from Bakhmut to Belarus some days ago.
The Belarusian army will not be participating in the invasion directly although volunteers have signed up with VSRF. The Russians are also relying on supplies and equipment from Belarus but there is suspicion that Lukashenko might sabotage deliveries. The Russians are therefore reportedly transferring about 6,000 men from Rossgvardiya to secure the logistics.
Given the difficult terrain, the Russians would have to attack with infantry, under aerial and artillery cover. ZSU have been preparing defenses in the area since the summer. The Russian sources expect about half of the invading force in casualties. The General Staff believes that this could be a lightning campaign that would allow VSRF to come closer to Transnistria and threaten Odesa. Military analysts are very skeptical about the likelihood of success — indeed, plans of this nature have been reported before (in August). Most expect the Russians to bog down like they have everywhere else, and then fight their way, slowly and at great cost, with frontal attacks until ZSU stop them.
This could be an intense Christmas for Ukraine.
2 thoughts on “A Russian attack from Belarus might be coming in just a few days”
This is a response to new arms shipments. Ukrainians said that the Russian Federation would attack in the spring and hoped to have time to prepare. It seems that the Russian Federation does not want to give them a chance to do this, even despite their future huge losses.
I’m interested in whether you have updated your probabilities for an invasion from the north over the last couple of weeks. ISW is calling this as a low probability, apparently largely based on their intelligence from Ukrainian General Staff. I presume that the main indicator of risk should be the number of RF troops known to be present, which I would have thought would be possible to estimate from activity of known supporting logistics operations, given that there seems to have been some attempt to confuse regarding actual numbers deployed (ie troops and equipment being shipped there and back to RF). I’m also guessing that the quality of intelligence in this conflict should be pretty good (on both sides), and that Ukrainian General Staff is not going to disclose their full knowledge anyway, as the extent to which they are aware of invasion plans would be an important consideration for the invaders. No real reason for me to know or understand any of this, but the whole thing has been painful to watch so helplessly. Seems obvious that the only sensible strategy from the West is to go all in before China commits any further to Putin. Same with Iran. Anyway that is idle speculation from me, based on zero knowledge. Thanks for your posts, and have a good New Year.