As a Result Of Tensions On The Russia-Ukraine Border, Belarus-Russia Extends Joint Military Drills


As a Result Of Tensions On The Russia-Ukraine Border, Belarus-Russia Extends Joint Military Drills
Russia and Belarus regularly conduct military exercises, such as this operation near the Belarusian village of Muchavec in 2019 © Natalia Fedosenko/TASS/Getty

International Military - Belarus and Russia will extend joint military exercises due to rising tensions in Ukraine. The extension was carried out after Russia previously promised to end joint training with Belarus this weekend.

"The presidents of Belarus and Russia have decided to continue the inspection of the readiness of the troops of the Union State," Belarusian Defense Minister Victor Khrenin said in a statement.

Khrenin said the decision was taken because of increased military activity along the Belarusian and Russian borders and because of the "escalation" in eastern Ukraine. Exercises in Belarus scheduled to end Sunday have exacerbated tensions between Moscow and the West over feared Russian attacks in Ukraine.

Nato says Russia has up to 30,000 troops in Belarus and could use it as part of an invasion force to attack Ukraine, although Moscow denies this.

The Belarusian defense ministry said the upcoming stages of the large-scale exercise would continue the goal of ensuring an adequate military response to any external threats. However, his party did not specify that the joint military exercise ship would end.

Belarus strongman Alexander Lukashenko has become an increasingly close ally of Russian leader Vladimir Putin. These ties grew stronger after Moscow put its political weight behind Minsk during major anti-government protests in 2020.

Belarus' embattled opposition has been concerned that Russian troops may not leave their country after the drills. This will further strengthen relations between Putin and Lukashenko.

However, Belarusian Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei said shortly after the drills began earlier this month that "no one" of Russian soldiers would remain in the country after the massive joint maneuver ended.

The French presidency also said that Emmanuel Macron had received assurances from Putin that Russian troops would leave after the joint exercises ended.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in an interview with the BBC broadcast on Sunday that Putin may not think logically so the threat of sanctions may not be enough to prevent Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

"Sanctions may not be enough to deter irrational actors and we have to accept at this point that Vladimir Putin may be thinking illogically about this and not seeing disaster ahead," Johnson told the BBC.

It is known that the region of Eastern Ukraine is heating up after hundreds of artillery shells exploded along the contact line between the Ukrainian army and pro-Russian separatists. As a result of shootings and explosions everywhere, thousands of people were forced to be evacuated, increasing fears of a Russian invasion.

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