Support The Moscow Times!

Russian Troops to Hold Drills in Ukraine's Neighbor Belarus

Servicemen of Russia's Western Military District take part in exercises at the training ground in Belarus. Russian Defense Ministry / TASS

Russian troops will conduct military exercises in Belarus, which neighbors Ukraine, the Interfax news agency said on Monday, citing the Defense Ministry in Moscow.

In October, Belarus announced the formation of a joint regional force with Moscow with several thousand Russian servicemen arriving in the ex-Soviet country.  

"The final assessment of the combat capability and combat readiness of the units will be given... after the battalion tactical exercises have been conducted," Interfax quoted the ministry as saying.

It did not say when and where the drills will take place but the announcement comes hours before Russian President Vladimir Putin visits Minsk for talks with counterpart Alexander Lukashenko. 

Lukashenko, who has been in power since 1994, is a long-time Kremlin ally.

The visit comes 10 months into Russia's military campaign in Ukraine, which was launched from several directions, including Belarusian territory.

The deployment of Russian troops in Belarus in October had raised fears that Belarusian troops could join them in their offensive in Ukraine.

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky said Sunday evening "the protection of the border with both Russia and Belarus is also a constant priority."

"We are preparing for all possible defense scenarios," Zelensky said in his daily address to the nation following a meeting with Ukraine's military commanders. 

Lukashenko has repeatedly said he does not plan to send Belarusian troops to Ukraine.

… we have a small favor to ask. As you may have heard, The Moscow Times, an independent news source for over 30 years, has been unjustly branded as a "foreign agent" by the Russian government. This blatant attempt to silence our voice is a direct assault on the integrity of journalism and the values we hold dear.

We, the journalists of The Moscow Times, refuse to be silenced. Our commitment to providing accurate and unbiased reporting on Russia remains unshaken. But we need your help to continue our critical mission.

Your support, no matter how small, makes a world of difference. If you can, please support us monthly starting from just $2. It's quick to set up, and you can be confident that you're making a significant impact every month by supporting open, independent journalism. Thank you.

Once
Monthly
Annual
Continue
paiment methods
Not ready to support today?
Remind me later.

Read more