Published On: Mon, Jan 16th, 2023

Vladimir Putin denies pressuring Belarus to join Ukraine invasion with air force drills | World | News


and are set to begin joint air force drills together, leading to fears that Vladimir Putin could persuade close ally Alexander Lukashenko to join him in his invasion of Ukraine. Belarus has claimed the exercises, which begin on Monday, are to prepare for possible future combat missions.

Pavel Muraveyko, first deputy state secretary of Belarusian Security Council, said in a Telegram post: “The exercise is purely defensive in nature.

“It will be a set of measures to prepare our and Russian aviation to carry out the relevant combat missions.”

He added that the exercises will involve training for “aerial reconnaissance, deflecting air strikes, air cover of important objects and communications” and are expected to last until February 1.

The international community is studying the situation carefully given that the buildup of Russian troops in Belarus, and increased military activity, is very similar to what took place before the invasion of Ukraine on February 24 last year.

President Zelensky has warned Western allies that the Kremlin may be ready to attack his country from the Belarussian border.

Minsk has reiterated that it will not enter the war despite President Lukashenko’s close ties to Putin.

However Belarus has continued to conduct a number of military exercises since the invasion, some jointly with Russia.

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The ministry said in a statement: “During the tactical flight exercise, all airfields and training grounds of the Air Force and Air Defence Forces of the Armed Forces of Belarus will be involved.”

Mr Muraveyko has accused Ukraine of “provoking” Belarus and admitted the situation at the border was “not very calm”.

He said: “We’re maintaining restraint and patience, keeping our gunpowder dry.

“We have the necessary set of forces and means that will respond to any manifestations of aggression or a terrorist threat on our territory.”





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