Statements by Belarusian officials threatening to strike critical facilities in neighbouring countries are not news.
On July 2nd, Lukashenka stated that armed forces had been ordered to “take aim” at critical facilities in neighbouring capital cities (“decision-making centres”) in response to their allegedly aggressive intentions.
Later, the head of the military intelligence of the Belarusian army, Ruslan Kosygin, echoed the threat.
It should be noted that:
- Minsk’s rhetoric denies any aggressive intent and speaks of retaliatory actions.
- Early determination of priority targets on the territory of a potential enemy is a standard part of defence planning, i.e. the fact that the Belarusian side has a target list is not something new; the updating of this list occurs as the operational planning documents are updated.
- So far, there is no information about any unusual or threatening movements of Belarusian army weapons systems capable of striking the “decision-making centres” of neighbouring countries.
- The West has previously expressed alarm about the possible presence of Russian Iskander missile systems near its borders.
The possibility of obtaining these missiles could act as an additional incentive for Minsk to amplify its rhetoric and take advantage of Western concerns. The goals of these menacing statements are still the same: to force the West to negotiate with the Belarusian regime, if not on its terms, then at least on acceptable ones. Minsk understands its prospects in an armed confrontation with NATO and takes no practical steps to initiate it.