Belarus, a small Russian ally bordering Ukraine, has up to 1.5 million potential military personnel outside its armed forces, a senior official said on Saturday.
President Alexander Lukashenko has backed his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in his year-long war with Ukraine, including letting him invade from Belarusian territory and allowing Russia to train newly mobilized troops in Belarus.
Lukashenko this month ordered the formation of a new voluntary territorial defense force of up to 150,000 personnel. He said his army would fight only if Belarus was attacked, Reuters said.
“Organizational structures, not armed forces, will number up to 1.5 million if martial law is declared and the economy shifts to war mode,” the secretary of state said. of the Security Council, Alexander Volfovich, according to the state news agency BelTA.
Belarus has approximately 9.3 million inhabitants. The country’s professional army numbers around 48,000 soldiers and some 12,000 border troops, according to the International Institute for Strategic Studies’ 2022 military balance.