Russia said on Thursday its army is taking part in a series of tactical exercises in Belarus, amid fears that Moscow is pressuring its ally to become more involved in the Ukraine war.

Although Belarus has said it will not enter the war in Ukraine, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has in the past ordered the deployment of the country’s troops alongside Russian forces near the Ukrainian border, citing threats from kyiv and the West.

In a statement, the Russian Defense Ministry stated: “Servicemen of the Western Military District continue intensive combat training at the shooting complexes of the armed forces of the Republic of Belarus.”

He added: “Combat training is carried out both during the day and at night.”

“The military shoot all kinds of small arms, as well as mortars, hone their skills in driving combat vehicles, overcome psychological obstacle courses, study tactical medicine and other disciplines.”

Videos released by the ministry showed Russian soldiers in snow gear training near tanks in a wintry landscape, firing weapons including artillery.

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