They want to deploy a joint group near the border with Ukraine.
MINSK. The first Russian soldiers who are to be part of the joint combat operation group have arrived in Belarus. The arrival of several trains with soldiers was confirmed on Saturday by the Belarusian Ministry of Defense, AFP and DPA inform.
“The first convoys with Russian soldiers from the regional battle group have arrived in Belarus,” the Ministry of Defense in Minsk said. He added that their mission consists “exclusively in strengthening the protection and defense of the border”.
The ministry released photos showing soldiers being greeted by women dressed in traditional costume with bread and salt.
Joint combat operational group of Russia and Belarus
Last Monday, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko accused Ukraine of planning an attack on his country and announced that Moscow and Minsk would deploy a joint combat operation group on the western borders of Belarus.
The number of Russian soldiers it should be has not been published. Referring to the Belarusian opposition, DPA writes that there are allegedly 120,000 Russian soldiers who should be stationed in Belarus in the coming months.
In addition, the Belarusian army is supposed to be strengthened from approximately 45,000 soldiers to 100,000 on the basis of mobilization measures. However, these data are not officially confirmed.
Will Belarus join the war in Ukraine?
A new joint military group between Russia and Belarus has raised fears that Belarusian troops could join Russian forces fighting in Ukraine.
On Tuesday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, in a speech during the virtual meeting of the G7 countries, accused Moscow of “trying to directly involve Belarus in this war”. He also called for an international observation mission to be deployed on the Ukrainian-Belarusian border.
Belarus, which is a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, allowed Russian forces to enter its territory in connection with the invasion of Ukraine. Russia is also conducting airstrikes against Ukrainian targets from Belarus.
In addition, according to AFP, Lukashenko accuses Poland, Lithuania and Ukraine of training Belarusian radicals “to carry out sabotage, terrorist attacks and organize a military rebellion in the country”.
War in Ukraine