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Russia-Belarus flight drills are likely “genuine exercise,” rather than preparation for additional offensive ops – British intel

The Belarus-Russia air force exercise announced days ago by the Belarusian Defense Ministry is “likely a genuine exercise, rather than a preparation for any additional offensive operations against Ukraine,” according to the British Defense Ministry’s January 11 intelligence update.

The Ministry tweeted:

  • On 08 January 2023, the Belarussian Ministry of Defence announced a joint Russian-Belarussian tactical flight exercise to be held in the country from 16 January to 01 February 2023.
  • As of 08 January 2023, amateur aircraft spotters noted the arrival of total of 12 Mi-8 support helicopters and Mi-24 and Ka-52 attack helicopters. With some appearing with ‘Z’ markings, the aircraft landed at Machulishchy Air Base near Minsk.
  • The new deployment of Russian aircraft to Belarus is likely a genuine exercise, rather than a preparation for any additional offensive operations against Ukraine. Although Russia maintains a large number of forces in Belarus, they are mostly involved in training. They are unlikely to constitute a credible offensive force.

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