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Russia, Belarus to continue military exercises amid Ukraine invasion fears

Russia and Belarus have tight cooperation under an alliance referred to as the Union State, which stops short of the countries' actual integration.

AP Reported by: AP Moscow Updated on: February 20, 2022 21:01 IST
belarus, ukraine, russia, moscow,donbass,belarus defence ministry,belarus, Russia Ukraine Crisis Liv
Image Source : AP

This photo taken from video provided by the Russian Defense Ministry Press Service on Saturday, Feb. 19, 2022, shows a Yars intercontinental ballistic missile being launched from an air field during military drills. 

Highlights

  • The defense minister of Belarus says his country's joint exercises with Russian troops will continue
  • Presence of Russian troops raised concern that they could be used to sweep down on Ukraine capital
  • Russia and Belarus have tight cooperation under an alliance referred to as the Union State.

The defense minister of Belarus says his country's joint exercises with Russian troops will continue because of rising tensions in Ukraine.

The exercises, which were to end Sunday, brought a sizable contingent of Russian forces to Belarus, which borders Ukraine to the north. The presence of the Russian troops raised concern that they could be used to sweep down on the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv.

Russia and Belarus have tight cooperation under an alliance referred to as the Union State, which stops short of the countries' actual integration.

Defense Minister Viktor Khrenin said Sunday that Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko and Russian President Vladimir Putin decided “to continue testing the response forces of the union state.”

Khrenin cited “the increase in military activity near the external borders of the union state and the aggravation of the situation in Donbas” - the region of eastern Ukraine controlled by pro-Russia separatists.

Lukashenko joined Putin at the Kremlin on Saturday to observe Russian forces conduct nuclear drills, according to Russian officials.

Also Read | Tensions soar after Russia's nuclear drill, shelling attacks on Ukrainian troops amid invasion fears

Also Read | Russia-Ukraine conflict: What Moscow wants, the West's interests | EXPLAINED

 

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