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17 Oct, 2022 14:35

Belarus reveals details of Russian forces in the country 

Minsk will host up to 9,000 troops as part of the build-up of a joint defense force with Moscow, a senior defense official said
Belarus reveals details of Russian forces in the country 

Thousands of Russian troops will be posted to Belarus with some 170 tanks, up to 200 armored vehicles, and up to 100 artillery pieces, Valery Revenko, an aide to the Belarussian defense minister, said on Twitter on Monday. The troops will be hosted as part of a recently created joint military force.

Earlier in the day, the Defense Ministry reported that Revenko had briefed 19 military diplomats on how the new joint force would operate. The official, who heads the foreign affairs department in the ministry, stated on Twitter that he had given the same details about the Russian forces to the foreign representatives.

Minsk decided to bolster its security by hosting Russian troops after its attempts to de-escalate border tensions were rejected, Revenko claimed to have told the military attaches. 

Russia and Belarus perceive as threats the “deployment of NATO forces near [their] borders amid a lack of dialogue, increased NATO training with a focus on offensive action, [and] the encouragement of Belarussian radical elements to topple the legitimate government of Belarus,” he said.

Belarus is a long-time ally of Russia, with the two together forming what is called the Union State. The new defense force, the creation of which Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko announced last week, will operate under its auspices. Minsk cited increased aggression from Kiev and Western nations as the reason for agreeing to have more Russian troops on its soil.

The first trains with Russian soldiers and military vehicles started arriving in Belarus on Saturday, according to the Defense Ministry in Minsk. On Sunday, Russian warplanes started redeploying to the country, the ministry told local media.

Belarus has allowed Russia to use its territory to launch offensives against Ukraine, but said it did not contribute its own troops to the operation. Hostilities in the neighboring nation escalated as Western nations poured arms and resources to prop up the Ukrainian military. Belarus claims that the threat posed to its safety by both Kiev and NATO members such as Poland has grown.

Last Friday, Belarussian Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei reported that his nation had put its troops and special services on high alert due to what he described as a terrorist threat. Earlier in the week, Lukashenko ordered a full-scale check of the readiness of the national armed forces.