Belarus and Russia to conduct 'defensive' air exercises | War in Ukraine
Ukraine has increased maneuvers on its border with Belarus for fear of an attack.
Belarus has indicated that military air exercises with Russia supposed to start on Monday are defensive in nature to prepare for possible combat situations, an announcement that comes amid growing concerns that Moscow is pushing Minsk to join the offensive in Ukraine.
In a message posted on the Telegram account of the Belarusian Ministry of Defense, a senior representative of the National Security Council assured that the maneuvers, which are due to last until February 1, are purely defensive in nature.
This will be a set of measures to prepare our air force and the Russian air force to carry out relevant combat missions, Pavel Muraveyko added, indicating that the exercises will include aerial reconnaissance and diversion, among other things. of airstrikes.
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As ahead of the February 24 launch of what it calls the special military operation in Ukraine, Russia has amassed troops in Belarus, where military activities have increased. Moscow had used its allied country as a rear base to launch an offensive against kyiv, in particular via northern Ukraine.
The situation raised fears in kyiv and Westerners that Russia is relying on Belarus to carry out a new ground attack in the region, a scenario for which Ukraine is preparing, as advanced last week by its President Volodymyr Zelensky.< /p>
Moscow denies pressuring Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko to play a more active role in the conflict. Minsk repeats not wanting to intervene directly.