Russia’s neighbor and ally Belarus announced so-called “wartime transition” exercises Tuesday as Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine shows no sign of slowing in its fourth month.
The Belarusian defense ministry said all of its army units, command centers and personnel will undertake “a set of training sessions on the transition from peacetime to wartime.”
It claimed in a statement that the combat-readiness exercises follow the latest call-up into service and are part of the military’s 2021-2022 plan.
The announcement comes two weeks after Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko ordered the creation of a “southern operational command” in response to military drills in the region by what he called “the U.S. and its satellites.”
“It’s a wartime condition, but without [active] war for now,” Lukashenko told his top defense officials on May 26.
In May, Belarus launched “surprise” military maneuvers to test the reactive capacity of its army.
Lukashenko, who has publicly backed Russia’s invasion, is accused of allowing Moscow to use his country as a staging ground for its devastating but ultimately failed attempt to advance into northern Ukraine and take the capital Kyiv.
Belarus has as a result been targeted by sweeping Western sanctions imposed following the invasion.