Joint Russian-Belarusian Military Exercise Agitates NATO
Feb. 4, 2022 (EIRNS)—The Russian-Belarusian joint exercise is getting NATO agitated. “This is the biggest Russian deployment there since the Cold War, with an expected 30,000 combat troops” as well as Spetsnaz special operations forces, SU-35 fighter jets, S-400 air defense systems and nuclear-capable Iskander missiles, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said yesterday.
Indeed, it is a big deal, though the number of 30,000 troops has not been confirmed by this news service. Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu flew to Minsk yesterday where he declared that Belarus can count on Russia’s firm support in striving to form a unified defense space within the borders of the Union State. “Russia highly appreciates your determination to resist the destructive line of the West and your readiness to form a single defense space within the borders of the Union State. You can always count on our firm support in this,” he said during a joint appearance with President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko.
Shoigu said that this exercise is only the first of many to come in 2022, to include Belarusian participation in the Vostok (East) strategic exercise in September. He observed that while Russian forces moved 10,000 km west from the Eastern Military District to Belarus, next time it’ll be Belarusian forces moving 10,000 km to the east for the Vostok exercise.
Lukashenko, for his part, called the exercises very important in the context of actions by NATO and Ukraine. “This is very important not only for us,” he said because Belarus is planning to buy large amounts of Russian military equipment. “This is critically vital for our Union State today, considering the behavior of NATO and Ukraine that is seeking to join the alliance, and that is why we want to be trained.”
Lukashenko also thanked Moscow for its support involving the Russian Aerospace Forces, declaring that it “has a cooling effect on the heads of some” neighbors. “The situation is being escalated, they push us to make a response; there have already been several provocations that we could have responded to with force. They understand that, if we respond, Russia will get involved, so we tolerate it for now,” he said.