Russia said on Thursday its troops were taking part in tactical exercises in Belarus, amid fears that Moscow is pressing its ally to get more involved in the Ukraine war.
Belarus has said it will not enter the war in Ukraine, but President Alexander Lukashenko has in the past ordered troops to deploy with Russian forces near the Ukrainian border, citing threats from Kyiv and the West.
For the latest headlines, follow our Google News channel online or via the app.
In a statement, Russia’s defense ministry said: “Servicemen of the Western Military District ... continue intensive combat training on the ranges of the armed forces of the Republic of Belarus.”
It added that “combat training events are held during both daylight and at night.”
“Servicemen are shooting from all types of small arms, as well as from mortars; they hone their skills in driving combat vehicles, pass psychological obstacle courses, study tactical medicine and other disciplines.”
Video clips posted by the ministry showed Russian soldiers in snow gear training near tanks in a winter landscape, firing weapons including artillery.
Russian President Vladimir Putin sent troops into Ukraine on February 24 in what he called a “special military operation,” triggering the deadliest conflict in Europe since World War Two.
Putin says he is defending Russian speakers in eastern and southern Ukraine and calls the war a watershed moment as Russia finally stands up to an arrogant West after decades of humiliation since the 1991 fall of the Soviet Union.
Ukraine and the West say Putin has no justification for what they cast as an imperial-style war of occupation. Ukraine says it will fight until the last Russian soldier is ejected from its territory.
Belarus plans to move military equipment, forces for check on terrorism response
Belarus under Russian ‘military occupation’: Opposition leader
Putin acknowledges Russia’s war in Ukraine could be a long one
Ukraine says suspicious packages sent to its embassies came from GermanyA series of suspicious packages sent to Ukrainian embassies all bore the address of a Tesla car dealership in Germany and were usually sent from post ... World News
Ukraine’s Zelenskyy named Time’s 2022 ‘Person of the Year’Time magazine named Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy 2022’s “Person of the Year” on Wednesday, saying he inspired Ukrainians and won global ... World News
Ukraine appears to show ability to strike far inside RussiaA third Russian airfield was set ablaze by a drone strike, a day after Ukraine demonstrated an apparent new ability to penetrate hundreds of ... World News