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19 Jan, 2024 12:41

West-East confrontation in ‘hot phase’ – Russian ally

The military and political configuration in Europe has changed “radically,” Belarus’ defense minister has said
West-East confrontation in ‘hot phase’ – Russian ally

The confrontation between the West and the East has entered a “hot phase,” Belarusian Defense Minister, Lieutenant General Viktor Khrenin has said.

Khrenin made the statement during a press conference on Friday dedicated to introducing Belarus’ new military doctrine. The document is only amended when there are significant changes to the geopolitical or internal situation, and for Belarus, “all those conditions have come about,” he explained.

“The ongoing confrontation between the West and the East has entered a ‘hot phase,’” the minister insisted.

The military and political configuration in Europe has “changed radically,” Khrenin said, in an apparent reference to the conflict in Ukraine and NATO’s expansion through the inclusion of Finland last April. The US-led block is also pushing to make Sweden a member, but those attempts continue to face resistance from Türkiye and Hungary.

However, the new Belarusian military doctrine could “serve as the basis for resolving the situation in Europe and launching a peace dialogue,” Khrenin stressed.

The document states that Minsk is ready for military cooperation with all countries, including NATO members, “under the condition that they stop aggressive rhetoric and actions against us,” he stressed.

Among other things, the doctrine demonstrates Minsk's interest in “restoring the influence” of the UN, OSCE (Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe), and other international bodies aimed at resolving conflict, he said.

The deployment of Russian tactical nuclear weapons on Belarusian territory is viewed in the document as a “necessary measure” and “an important component of deterrence of potential adversaries from unleashing an armed aggression against Belarus,” Khrenin said.

According to the minister, the doctrine also addresses economic support for security measures. It outlines steps aimed at resisting sanctions and stressing the emphasis on import substitution in the defense sector, he added.

Due to being an ally of Russia, Belarus has been placed under harsh restrictions by the US and the EU amid the conflict in Ukraine, despite it not being directly involved in the fighting. Minsk allowed Moscow to use its territory when it launched its military operation in February 2022.

Later that year, Moscow and Minsk established a joint military force on Belarusian territory. At the same time, in June 2023, Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, confirmed the deployment of Russian tactical nuclear weapons to Belarus as part of a deal between the neighbors.