Belarus updates military doctrine

Belarus’s president, Alexander Lukashenko, has approved an updated version of the country’s military doctrine, its first update since 2001.

The new doctrine addresses the key changes in the strategic environment in Europe, including NATO enlargement and the Ukraine conflict. Lukashenko approved the new doctrine on 22 January. It is expected to be introduced to the Belarusian parliament before the end of the month, and will likely be approved with little change.

Lukashenko told Belarusian news agency BelTA that there are no conventional military threats to Belarus. The doctrine names no state actors as potential military threats but names both ‘hybrid warfare’ and ‘colour revolutions’ as threats, respectively implying Russia and the West are both potential adversaries.

Belarus’s border with Russia is poorly defended (border posts were removed in 1996) and so to counter a potential hybrid war threat, the new doctrine highlights the importance of improved border surveillance and defence, tackling sabotage parties, and information warfare. Russia has several small military bases in the country but Belarus is likely to resist continued attempts by Moscow to establish more in the future.

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