Minsk has stated it’ll conduct large-scale army drills on Belarus’ borders with Poland and Lithuania. The workouts, targeted notably on air protection, come amid mass protests following the contested presidential election.
The drills, that are additionally set to contain artillery and missile troops, will happen within the western area of Grodno from August 17 to 20, the nation’s Defence Ministry stated Sunday. The motion will occur close to the city of Astravyets – not removed from the nation’s new nuclear energy plant, which is being constructed in cooperation with Russia.
Detachments from three air protection regiments have been despatched to their areas of duty, the army stated, including that the items are already guarding the Belarusian nationwide border’s airspace. Airborne troops and tank items can even partake within the drills, being held at separate areas over the identical interval, it added.
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Belarus has exhibited a pointy improve in its army actions in latest days in an obvious try to indicate drive to its neighbors, who’ve repeatedly been accused by Minsk of fueling large ongoing protests contained in the nation. On Saturday, President Alexander Lukashenko dispatched an airborne brigade to the Grodno area, citing tensions on the border and NATO actions within the neighboring nations.
“We can not simply calmly observe what is occurring in these territories. Our army can also be fearful about this drawback,” Lukashenko stated, including that he had ordered the switch of the brigade from Vitebsk to Grodno over the “tense” situation.
NATO dismissed Lukashenko’s issues a few army buildup close to the border, with a spokesperson saying on Sunday that the alliance’s “multinational presence” within the area is “not a risk to any nation” and is “strictly defensive, proportionate, and designed to stop battle and protect peace.”
Belarus has endured per week of mass demonstrations, sparked by presidential elections held on August 9. In keeping with official knowledge, long-term chief Lukashenko secured a stable win, receiving simply over 80 p.c of votes. The opposition, nonetheless, insists the election has been grossly falsified, and hundreds have taken to the streets demanding a vote recount or new elections altogether.
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The contested vote has additionally been condemned within the West. On Friday, the EU’s prime diplomat Josep Borrell stated the bloc had refused to simply accept Lukashenko’s victory and vowed sanctions towards prime Belarusian officers. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has additionally not dominated out sanctioning Minsk.
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