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Belarus to move troops and equipment amid Ukrainian fears of attack

Belarus plans to move military equipment and forces in a ‘counter-terrorism’ exercise, state media report.

Belarus plans to move military equipment and forces in a “counter-terrorism” exercise, the state-run BelTA news agency reported, amid fears that Russia could attack Ukraine from the Belarusian border.

“During this period, it is planned to move military equipment and personnel of the national security forces,” state news agency BelTA quoted the Belarusian Security Council as saying.

“Citizens Movement” [transport] along certain roads and public areas it will be restricted and the use of imitation weapons for training purposes is foreseen.

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Forces are scheduled to move in on Wednesday and Thursday, but there was no word on which regions would be affected or what form the exercise would take.

For nine months, Belarus has stayed away from direct involvement in the war in Ukraine, but President Alexander Lukashenko has in the past ordered a troop deployment with Russian forces near the Ukrainian border, citing threats to Belarus from Kyiv and West.

Ukraine has shared its fears for months that Belarus and Russia may be in cahoots to attack the country from its northern border.

The states of the former Soviet Union, Belarus and Russia, are closely allied economically and militarily. Russia used Belarus as a staging point for its failed advance on Kyiv beginning on February 24, despite Lukashenko resisting Russian military deployments in Belarus for many years.

In 2020, Moscow and Minsk relied on their cooperation when Russia helped Lukashenko quell a wave of pro-democracy protests after disputed elections.

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In October, Lukashenko announced a new Russian deployment of 9,000 troops to Belarus as part of a new joint military grouping.

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“Enemy units are being trained at the training grounds of the Republic of Belarus” and Russian attacks continued to be launched from Belarusian territory, the Ukrainian General Staff said in a statement posted on Facebook.

Last week, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu met his Belarusian counterpart Viktor Khrenin to discuss military cooperation.

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