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Belarus announces joint military drills with Russia at Ukraine border, support for Russia in case “Ukraine unleashes conflict”

The Ukraine military’s assessment of how a potential attack by Russia would play out shows the country ringed by Russian battalion tactical groups, or BTGs. Photo by Ukraine military, shared with the Military Times
Belarus announces joint military drills with Russia at Ukraine border, support for Russia in case “Ukraine unleashes conflict”

Speaking after a meeting of self-proclaimed Belarusian President Lukashenka with the Belarusian Ministry of Defense, Minister Viktor Khrenin announced a set of planned measures to “shield” the country’s southern border.

As the Belarusian state media BelTA reported, he stated that Belarus and Russia have planned no large-scale exercises such as “Zapad” or “Shield of the Union” for 2022, but instead there are plans for “a set of medium-term measures to shield the southern borders of Belarus.”

“We are planning to conduct the exercise together with our colleagues, our main strategic ally — the Russian Federation,” the agency quoted the minister.

It is thanks to Russian financial and political support that Lukashenka was able to weather the wave of protests that followed the August 2020 presidential election committed with mass voter fraud and ensuing growing international pressure, including a number of sanctions. In the following year, Belarus’ integration with Russia has deepened, with the latest evidence of this manifesting in a series of road maps aimed to deepen the integration of the two neighbors as part of the decades-old plan to create a “Union state” signed on 4 November.

At the same meeting, Lukashenka said that Belarus will take Russia’s side in case “Ukraine will unleash a conflict against Russia.”

Particularly, he said that “active movements” against Russia are being started (apparently, by Ukraine or western states) “under the cover that [Russia] is ‘going to attack Ukraine.'”

“I have no such information about a planned Russian attack on Ukraine,” he added. “But if there were such plans, then the Belarusian military, including me, would know about it. We would be informed.”

Lukashenko further alleged that the migrant crisis, in which Belarus has been shuttling migrants from the Middle East, parts of Africa, and Asia across the Polish and Lithuanian borders from July 2021, is created to contain Belarusian troops in the scenario of a Ukrainian attack on Russia (!), implicitly referring to Poland’s reinforcement of its border and Ukraine’s “Operation Polissia,” in which Ukraine allocated additional resources to guard its northern border against a possible influx of migrants from Belarus.

“They understand perfectly: if they will again unleash a little war in Donbas or somewhere on the border with Russia, Belarus will not stand aside. And it’s clear on whose side Belarus will be. They understand that, and that’s why they started securing their northern, Belarusian-Ukrainian border. Even though there are no facts, reasons for this. There is absolute silence there, and it’s even calmer than before. Nevertheless, they are moving a military contingent there and declare this openly. […] They [western states] probably are worried that the migrant flow is falling, because they used these people to solve their internal problems and keep us under pressure. They understand perfectly: if only Ukraine will try to unleash a conflict with Russia, Belarus will not stand aside, which is why the Belarusian army has to be contained, pressured at the western borders.”

In the last month, the eyes of military analysts around the world have been drawn to Russia’s movement of troops and equipment at the border with Ukraine and Belarus. The Ukrainian military has warned it has plans of Russia’s planned attack on Ukraine.

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