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Russian-Belarusian Exercises To Practice Defense of the Union State

Jan. 19, 2022 (EIRNS)—Russian Deputy Defense Minister Colonel General Alexander Fomin, in a Jan. 18 briefing at the Defense Ministry, provided details of the upcoming series of joint Russian-Belarusian exercises focused on defense of the Union State between the two countries. Fomin reported that the exercises are the result of an agreement between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko last month. “They decided to conduct an unscheduled check of the troops and assess their readiness to ensure military security, as well as to practice various options for joint actions to neutralize threats and stabilize the situation on the borders of the Union State,” he said. While there are regular combat exercises of the forces of both countries, Fomin said, “we are clearly aware that such a situation may arise when the forces and means of the Regional Group will not be enough to guarantee the security of the Union State, and we must be ready to strengthen it.”

“Together with the Belarusian side, we came to the understanding that for general protection it will be necessary to involve the entire potential of the state’s military organization,” Fomin said. “It is planned to prepare troops and forces for actions not only within their boundaries of responsibility, but also for solving suddenly arising tasks of localizing crisis situations in any threatened directions.”

The exercise will be run in two phases. During the first phase, which begins on Feb. 9, there will be drills on deployment of troops to threatened directions, the protection of state and military facilities and on the protection of the state borders of Russia and Belarus. As part of these drills, 12 Russian Su-35 fighter jets, two divisions of S-400 air defense units, and a unit equipped with the Pantsir S1 short range air defense system will be deployed to Belarus.

“At the second stage of the check, from February 10 to February 20, Union Courage 2022 joint exercise will be held, the purpose of which will be to practice tasks of suppressing and repelling external aggression during a defensive operation, as well as countering terrorism and protecting the interests of the Union State,” Fomin said. “During the exercise, measures will be taken to strengthen the protection of the State Border to prevent the penetration of armed groups of militants, to block the channels for the delivery of weapons and ammunition, as well as to search for, block, and destroy illegal armed formations and sabotage and reconnaissance groups of the enemy.”

Fomin did not say how many troops from each country will be involved but said it was within the scope of the Vienna Document of 2011.

At the same time, Boris Gryzlov, Russia’s newly appointed Ambassador to Belarus, told TASS that heavy weapons and additional forces were moved by the West to the Polish border with Belarus. NATO’s action “of course, does not go unnoticed,” he said. Regarding the Russian-Belarusian exercise that had just been announced by Fomin, Gryzlov said that unlike NATO, they have a history where they have “clearly and coherently demonstrated their training, conducted their exercises to perfection ,and then returned to their permanent deployments.”

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