The deployment of up to 9,000 military personnel is for “purely defensive” purposes and for exercises, says Minsk. In February, Russia attacked Ukraine from Belarus after conducting “exercises.”

Russia will send some 170 tanks, up to 200 armored combat vehicles and up to 100 artillery pieces and mortars to the southern border of Belarus, which borders Ukraine, the Belarusian Defense Ministry reported Monday (10/17/2022). On Saturday the Minsk authorities had announced that the first trains with Russian soldiers had arrived in the country; on Sunday the presence of planes sent by Moscow that will join the group was confirmed.

The Belarusian Deputy Minister of Defense for International Military Cooperation, Colonel Valeri Revenko, tweeted this information after informing 19 foreign military attachés of the reinforcement of the border in the south of the country. Last week, the Belarusian president, Alexandr Lukashenko, announced that he had agreed to the creation of said regional grouping with the Russian Vladimir Putin, in a step that Minsk has described as purely “defensive”.

The military team that the Kremlin will send to Belarus, which has logistically supported Russia in its military campaign in Ukraine and lent its territory for the failed attack in February against the north and northeast of the neighboring country, will be joined by up to 9,000 Russian soldiers. These soldiers will participate in military training activities aimed at “increasing the level of fulfillment of missions in defense of the State Union.”

Alleged Ukrainian attack

Those activities will include live-fire exercises and guided missile launches, the Belarusian Defense Ministry said. “Military units are planned to be deployed to four training camps in the eastern and central part of the country, after which they will begin combat training activities,” the Interfax agency reported.

Belarus assures that Ukraine is preparing an attack, although it has not shown any evidence of that. Likewise, Minsk maintains that the rearmament of Poland and the Baltic countries poses a threat to its sovereignty. “In the current conditions, most of the proposals of the Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Belarus on the need for dialogue and de-escalation were not accepted under various pretexts. The result is the deployment of the regional grouping”, argued Revenko.

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