The Belarusian government has started checking bomb shelters and are providing some employees in the Ministry of Emergency Situations with weapons in the event of “hostilities” breaking out between Ukraine and Belarus.
In a statement from the Minister of emergency situations, Vadim Sinyavsky said “Today, all the weapons that were planned have been received from the Ministry of Defence and placed in our rooms for storing weapons… Calculations have been made and personnel training has been carried out… If it is necessary to take an active part in certain issues relating to the protection of our homeland, these calculations will be sent to the Ministry of Internal Affairs and to the heads of the Air Force at the regional level, as well as to the Armed Forces; if necessary, calculations will also be made for participation in the relevant actions.”
The comments from Sinyavsky created panic around the country, with rumors flying that an invasion of Belarus could happen. Sinyavsky put out an additional statement saying, “the leadership of our country… is taking every possible measure to prevent [a military conflict on the territory of Belarus] from happening. But we understand that, unfortunately, the world is such that there may be a situation in which we will have to act quickly, within the limits of civil defense.” He added that Belarus was also checking bomb shelters around the country, saying “There are more than 5,000 different closed facilities in the country that can be used to shelter the population in the event of missile strikes, in particular. We will conduct an operational verification of these and will notify people where, when and in which region it is possible to go down into the shelters for protection from these things. This is the first story. And the second story is evacuation in the event of an immediate emergency. We are training our forces and staff so that we can quickly organize an evacuation if necessary.”
This development comes as a significant amount of Russian troops have been moving into Belarus, with military analysts believing that Russia may be preparing to launch an assault from the Belarusian border. In addition, earlier this month, Belarusian President Lukashenko indicated that he might join the Russian-Ukrainian war due to a potential attack from Ukraine.