Belarus hosts joint military drills

Brussels 29.12.2022 Russia has stationed more than 10,000 soldiers in Belarus, the head of the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine Serhiy Deyneko said during a national newscast on December 28.

Russian Armed Forces have been deployed in Russia’s Belarus, Deyneko said, as per the Ukrainian outlet Pravda. The amassed in Belarus 10,200 servicemen from the troops are not enough to attack Ukraine, he claimed.

Deyneko’s remarks came as Russian and Belarusian forces conducted joint military drills at an undisclosed location in Belarus.

The troops, part of a regional group of forces, conducted the exercises “to practice tactical elements, use of weapons, medical and engineering skills, as well as driving combat vehicles across rough terrain,” Russia’s Defense Ministry said Wednesday, according to Russian state-owned TASS News Agency.

Belarus, a close ally of Russia, announced in October that around 9,000 Russian troops would be stationed in the country as part of a “regional regrouping” of forces to protect the Belarusian border.

A week before the announcement, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said that Belarus’ troops would be deployed with Russian forces near the Ukrainian border in response to what he said were threats from Ukraine and the West.

Belarus has not declared war on Ukraine, but it did allow the Russian forces’ passage into Ukrainian territory at the start of the conflict in late February.

Russian troops have since been able to enter, leave and return to Belarusian territory whenever they want without the permission of local authorities, according to the European Council on Foreign Relations, a think tank based in Germany.

Russian President Vladimir Putin may now be pressuring Lukashenko to join the war on his side.

The two leaders met Tuesday in St. Petersburg’s Russian Museum on the sidelines of a summit of the Commonwealth of Independent States, an alliance of several countries in Asia and Europe that includes Russia and Belarus.

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