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19 Aug, 2020 13:26

Kremlin denies Russian military convoys heading to Belarus, says no need right now for CSTO or Union State assistance to neighbor

Kremlin denies Russian military convoys heading to Belarus, says no need right now for CSTO or Union State assistance to neighbor

Vladimir Putin’s spokesman has rubbished speculation that Moscow is either conducting or is preparing to carry out some sort of military intervention in neighboring Belarus, with which it has mutual-assistance agreements.

Dmitry Peskov said that while Russia is treaty-bound to assist Minsk, the conditions for such support don't currently exist.

Both countries form a Union State, under a 1999 agreement, and are also members of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO), a Moscow-led security alliance that serves as an alternative to NATO. Peskov explained that these treaties “indeed, stipulate a number of commitments of the sides on mutual assistance.” He was answering a reporter's question on the circumstances in which such assistance would be possible.

“But, as you know, now there is no such need and the Belarusian leadership has itself admitted that there is no such need now,” he added. “In this case, any hypothetical deliberations are absolutely unacceptable and impossible.”

“We believe that Belarusians will iron out their own problems in the framework of dialogue, within the legal framework, and without any foreign meddling,” the Kremlin spokesman said.

READ MORE: As EU talks sanctions, Putin warns Merkel & Macron foreign interference in Belarus’ affairs is ‘unacceptable’ & could backfire

Commenting on media reports that convoys of Russian military equipment were allegedly heading to the Belarusian border, the presidential spokesman emphasized that “Russian military equipment is on Russian territory and that’s why there is nothing to comment on here.”

Meanwhile, Alexander Lukashenko's spokeswoman has claimed that the President of Belarus regards the CSTO and Union State agreements as paramount. “Consultations between the Belarusian and Russian presidents are currently underway. The heads of state coordinate their actions, primarily within the framework of the existing agreements. These are both the Union State and the CSTO,” Natalya Eismont said. She also noted that the two leaders had held several phone calls.

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