WATCH Russian and Belarusian troops conduct joint exercises
Troops from Russia and Belarus have begun joint drills as part of combat readiness training, ahead of the planned ‘Union Resolve 2022’ exercises due to take place later this month, the Russian Defense Ministry announced on Wednesday.
The ministry published a video showing tanks, helicopters, and other military vehicles engaging in synchronized advancements on snow-covered territory.
According to officials, the drills are taking place at three separate bases in Belarus. The current stage, known as combat cohesion, is designed to enable troops to practice defensive operations, as well as techniques and methods to fight illegal armed groups. Alongside infantry troops, the training also includes motorized units and artillery gun teams.
Russia’s Ministry of Defense has described the events as “troops of both countries practicing various techniques and methods of warfare in single combat formations.”
Soldiers began to arrive in Belarus on January 18 as part of a large-scale inspection of the Union State joint response force. The planned training consists of two phases. The current phase is focused on defensive and protective practices, such as defending military facilities. This stage will run until February 9.
The second part, which will take place from February 10-20, has been called ‘Union Resolve 2022.’ The purpose of this latter phase is to practice offensive fighting and develop tactics for repelling external aggression, such as countering terrorism.
The drills come as Russia stands accused of placing 100,000 troops on the frontier with Ukraine. The US State Department has suggested that the exercises could be a pretense for an invasion.
Speaking last week, the Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Belarus, Major General Viktor Gulevich, said he does not believe the exercises being carried out pose any threat to Europe or countries that neighbor Belarus, and highlighted the defensive nature of the movements.