Belarus this week checked the readiness of territorial troops. This order was given by the President at a meeting with participants of a territorial defense camp. The newly created troops will add strength to the army and to defend facilities that are vital for the country.
The territorial defense system in Belarus is 15 years old. Even then it was clear that reserve soldiers can be of great assistance to the regular army. This is mainly the protection of urban facilities: factories, power plants, and bakeries.
The last territorial defense forces drills took place May 2015. In the Gomel region, soldiers were working out border strengthening. But some flaws have surfaced since then. At this week's meeting with the President, the governors were on one side of the table and the military on the other. The governors knew that the next day they would undergo real officer training.
Alexander Lukashenko, President of Belarus:
My concern is that, you know, how often it happened in our history: on paper, everything is good, but if (God forbid) something happens, then we begin to sacrifice millions of lives to cover the errors of the high command, as it was during the last war. That's what should not happen. No formalism. And you see and feel for yourself that we have recently, without any fanfares, conducted military exercises. We inspect the Armed Forces, as does the Minister of Defence, under the control of the Secretary of State. I am constantly reported back. We are re-equipping our Armed Forces, giving priority to mobile components. But the question is: are we prepared to act in the conditions of war and involve all the territorial defense forces?
This question was addressed to the Security Council. It oversees the state of the territorial defense forces. There are problems there.
Stanislav Zas, State Secretary of Security Council of the Republic of Belarus:
The problem is the lack of preparation of heads of local authorities in matters of territorial defense. We created several years ago a system of territorial defense training for officials, including from the executive committees. But to this day, the heads of these institutions were not involved in it. They were not covered by this training system.
That is, you prepared fighters but not superiors.
Deputies were partaking in the drills.
I instruct the State Secretariat to involve territorial defense troops in a particular area. I will tell you in which exactly 24h before the actual drills. And we will see how territorial defense forces are prepared.
New weapons is a mandatory point of the training program: anti-personnel mines, anti-aircraft guns, and modern data centers. This is the minimum amount of information that every commander should know.
Semyon Shapiro, Chairman of the Minsk Regional Executive Committee:
We have received a lot of new information, which we will work out in our regions together with the chairmen of district executive committees. It all is equally difficult if you do it right. But for this we are taught everything here, so that we know the algorithm of actions and comply with it.
How should the territorial forces look like? Ideally, the protection of all the important sites in the country requires about half a million people. It is understood that it is not possible to keep many people on the ready for long. So it requires an optimal variant. The first step is to determine the size and composition of such groups.
In each area, and in the city of Minsk, it is necessary to determine the right number of regional forces. We have already created this all but we need another fresh look. We have to look once again what objects we will protect, maybe there will be more objects that should be protected.
Equally important is the financial aspect. To have lots of territorial defense troops costs money. Money for this is properly allocated and the President requires increased monitoring and effective procurement.
We allocate funds for the purchase of equipment of territorial defense. It was allocated during this difficult year too. And you need to treat carefully these purchases. It is necessary to buy what we really need today and will need in the event of a war. Purchasing modern means of communication, please give priority to domestic products.