Belarus has been marked by political unrest since the 2020 presidential elections, which led to a violent crackdown by Lukashenko’s government.1 Several reports indicated the use of firearms by law enforcement and military personnel on protesters, causing numerous injuries and the deaths of at least two people.2 Belarus has close security ties with Russia, which is also the principal supplier of weapons and ammunition to the country.3
In terms of weapons and ammunition management, Belarus has notably implemented projects to strengthen stockpile management capacities, with the assistance of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).4 It has also received regional assistance from the South Eastern and Eastern Europe Regional Clearinghouse for the Control of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SEESAC).5 National firearm regulation is considered restrictive.6
1 A.V. Buzgalin and A.I. Kolganov, “The Protests in Belarus: Context, Causes and Lessons,” Critical Sociology 47, no. 3 (May 2021): 441-453, https://doi.org/10.1177%2F0896920520982368.
2 FIDH, Supplying the Means for Repression in Belarus: Transfer of Crowd-control Weapons (Mis)used to Crack Down on Human Rights (Paris: FIDH, 2021), https://www.fidh.org/IMG/pdf/548344402-supplying-the-means-for-repression-in-belarus_1_.pdf.
3 “Belarus”, World Factbook, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), updated June 13, 2023, https://www.cia.gov/the-world-factbook/countries/belarus/#military-and-security.
4 “Conventional Arms Control and Confidence- Security-Building Measures,” Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Belarus, accessed January 1, 2023, https://mfa.gov.by/en/mulateral/global_issues/global_security/armament_control/.
5 “Ammunition Management Activity Platform (A-MAP),” GICHD, 2022, https://a-map.gichd.org.
6 Philip Alpers and Marcus Wilson, Belarus – Gun Facts, Figures and the Law (GunPolicy.org, Sydney School of Public Health, University of Sydney, 2022), https://www.gunpolicy.org/firearms/region/belarus.
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Since the Small Arms Survey began collecting data in 1979, two accidental explosions have been reported in Belarus.
Table 1. Accidental explosions in Belarus (1979–2021)
Source: “Unplanned Explosions at Munitions Sites (UEMS) Database,” Small Arms Survey, updated December 15, 2021, https://smallarmssurvey.org/database/unplanned-explosions-munitions-sites-uems.
Cases of diversion
Insufficient information on cases of diversion in Belarus.
Belarus has reported on the disposal conventional arms and armaments surplus; however, there is insufficient information to estimate the number of tonnes of ammunition disposed of annually.1
1 “Conventional Arms Control and Confidence- Security-Building Measures,” Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Belarus.
No needs have been identified for Belarus.