Moscow, Dec 8 (EFE).- Russian forces stationed in Belarus began tactical military exercises on Thursday at Belarusian Army ranges, the Russian Defense Ministry reported on its Telegram channel.
The drills are aimed at “the combat coordination of units,” the statement said.
“Servicemen perform shooting from all types of small arms and mortars, study tactical medicine and other disciplines,” the defense ministry said, adding that the troops are part of the Belarusian-Russian regional military grouping.
The group was set up in October, when Belarus president Alexander Lukashenko announced that he and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin had agreed to the deployment of troops because of “aggravation” on their “western borders”.
According to Minsk, there are roughly 9,000 Russian troops deployed on its territory, equipped with about 170 tanks, up to 200 armored fighting vehicles, and up to 100 guns and mortars with a caliber of more than 100 millimeters.
Ukraine warned Belarus in October that it would respond with its “entire arsenal of weapons” if the Belarusian army “supports Russian aggression”.
At the beginning of the Kremlin’s so-called “special military operation”, the Russian army launched an offensive on Kyiv from Belarusian territory, which culminated in a withdrawal, which Moscow described as a “gesture of goodwill” but which Western analysts said was a chastening defeat.
While Lukashenko has agreed to let Russian troops operate from his country’s territory, he has stopped short of sending Belarusian forces into Ukraine. EFE