Russia sends 30,000 troops to Belarus for joint exercises: NATO – Country
NATO said Russia has increased its deployment to Ukraine Belarus has neighbors to the north in recent days and is expected to have 30,000 troops there to take part in joint exercises this month.
The Russia-Belarusian exercises, which run until February 20, have provided an opportunity for Moscow to build up forces near Ukraine at a time when the United States and Britain have warned that Moscow may be preparing for war.
Ukraine’s Defense Minister said that Russia has now sent a total of 115,000 troops near the Ukrainian border.
Russia denies plans to invade Ukraine and describes the Allied Resolve exercise with Belarus as an exercise aimed at repelling foreign aggression. It did not disclose the size of its forces there but said it would withdraw after the exercise.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said: “In the past few days, we have witnessed a significant movement of Russian military forces into Belarus.
“This is Russia’s largest deployment there since the Cold War, with 30,000 troops expected,” he said, as well as Spetsnaz special operations forces, SU-35 fighter jets. , the S-400 air defense system and the nuclear-capable Iskander missile, he said.
The Interfax news agency reported that Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu arrived in Belarus on Thursday to inspect the Russian and Belarusian militaries and is scheduled to meet with Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko.
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The United States and NATO have rejected Russia’s request to ban Ukraine from joining NATO and withdraw allied forces and weapons systems from Eastern Europe, and expressed their readiness to discuss arms control measures and build build trust.
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday said the West had ignored Russia’s main concerns and accused the United States of trying to entice the country into war, but he said Russia remained interested in dialogue.
On Thursday, the Kremlin again accused Washington of raising tensions after the United States said it would send nearly 3,000 more troops to Poland and Romania. The Pentagon said the aim was to send a “strong signal” to Putin and the world that “NATO is important to the United States and it is important to our allies.”
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, who has offered to mediate between Russia and Ukraine during the crisis, will visit Kyiv on Thursday.
Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov told reporters that Ukraine and Turkey will sign a framework agreement on the production of Turkish drones in Ukraine. Ukraine has deployed Turkish-made drones in its war with Russia-backed separatists in the east of the country.
Reznikov said the number of ceasefire violations in that conflict has decreased and there have been no combat losses in the past three weeks.
Ukraine was happy to move the venue for peace talks in eastern Ukraine to Istanbul or other Turkish cities at Erdogan’s proposal, but Russia had to agree, he said.
– Written by Mark Trevelyan
https://globalnews.ca/news/8592036/russia-ukraine-belarus-30000-troops-nato/ Russia sends 30,000 troops to Belarus for joint exercises: NATO – Country