OSIPOVICHI, Belarus – Mocking the United States for spending billions of dollars on intelligence agencies that, he says, wrongly predicted an attack on Ukraine, the autocratic leader of Belarus, its Western neighbor and close ally. Russia’s closest allies, said on Thursday that joint military exercises between the countries had taken place. not have to book an invasion – at least not now.
Western officials have warned that the military exercise, called Allied Resolve 2022 and described by NATO as the largest deployment of Russian troops in Belarus since the end of the Cold War, could be used. to cover up an attack on Ukraine, a country of nearly 700 people. -Long side border with Belarus.
“There will be no invasion tomorrow,” the Belarusian leader, Aleksandr G. Lukashenko, told reporters after watching artillery and warplanes from Belarus and Russia put on a loud show of fire in an area. Deserted military training outside Osipovichi, a small town southeast of Minsk, the capital. The United States and its allies say the threat from Russia remains high.
Russia does not flaunt its most advanced fighter jets or battle tanks. But the Sukhoi fighter bombers and Mi-24 helicopters still exerted power, appearing over a snow-covered land that is now rapidly turning to mud – far from ideal conditions for an attack. overland into Ukraine that American officials had been anticipating for weeks.
The joint exercises have attracted Western attention as a guide not only to Moscow’s intentions in Ukraine but also in Belarus, an independent country that has increasingly come under the Kremlin’s radar since it helped Mr. Lukashenko crack down on massive street protests in 2020. After a controversial election.
Asked if some of the Russian troops and military hardware deployed in Belarus for the 10-day drills could stay in his country after the drills end on Sunday, Mr. Lukashenko said this will be decided on Friday, when he meets President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia in Moscow.
“If it makes sense to keep Russian troops here, we will keep them for as long as necessary,” Lukashenko said in remarks that appeared to contradict Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei’s statement a day earlier that “not a Russian soldiers, but not a part of Russian military equipment, will remain after these exercises”.
Lukashenko, who has ruled Belarus since 1994, said there was no need for permanent Russian military bases in his country but pointed out that Russia could leave ammunition and some military equipment behind. to “not have to drag them back and forth” every time. The two countries hold military exercises.
The United States should “calm down” and acknowledge what he said was the fallacy of intelligence assessments that indicated an imminent invasion, he said.
“Do you still believe that we will attack Ukraine from here? Are you still entertained with this crazy idea? ” Mr. Lukashenko asked before climbing into the presidential helicopter for the flight back to Minsk.
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/17/world/ukraine-invasion-belarus.html As Russia and Belarus conduct military drills, negotiations on Ukraine’s invasion are scrapped