Russia to hold military exercises in Belarus

The Russian military will travel to Belarus in the coming weeks for international exercises "Slavic Brotherhood 2020”.

On Wednesday, the preparation for the maneuvers was discussed over the phone by the Chiefs of General Staff Valery Gerasimov and Alexander Volfovich, Interfax reports, citing the press service of the Russian Defense Ministry.

In addition to the Russian and Belarusian military, Serbian military will take part in the maneuvers. The exercises will take place at the end of September, at the training ground of the 38th separate Guards Airborne Assault Brigade of the Armed Forces of Belarus, which is based in Brest, BelPAN reports.

Last year, the Slavic Brotherhood's exercises lasted two weeks and took place in Serbia. More than 600 Belarusian, Russian and Serbian servicemen took part in them, more than 50 units of military equipment and five military transport aircraft were involved.

By the end of the year, Moscow and Minsk are also planning strategic command-staff exercises "Kavkaz 2020". They were also discussed by Gerasimov and Volfovich.

Talks at the level of chiefs of staff took place simultaneously with the visit of Belarusian Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei to Moscow. Following the meeting with his counterpart, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov promised to give a "firm answer to those who are trying to tear Belarus away from Russia."

"The Republic of Belarus, perhaps, for the first time faces a serious threat of destabilization, and this destabilization, these efforts, is not without the most vigorous outside interference. We condemn the pressure that a number of foreign states are trying to exert on the legitimate authorities of Belarus, which at the same time openly support the opposition," Lavrov said.

According to him, Moscow has confirmed information that the destabilization of the situation in Belarus is managed from the territory of Ukraine, where there are camps "to train extremists", in particular, in the Volyn and Dnipropetrovsk regions. From there, about 200 members of various factions were transferred to Belarus, Lavrov said.

"Those who try to provoke riots, to provoke violations of laws, they are well aware that such a national dialogue will leave them on the sidelines of history. That's why they are trying to bring everything down to extremist provocations, trying to provoke law enforcement officers. We will categorically suppress it," the minister added.

Following Makei on September 4, the Minister of Defense of Belarus, Major General Viktor Khrenin, will fly to Moscow. He will take part in a joint meeting of the CIS and CSTO defense ministers, where he will deliver a report on international and regional security, consolidated efforts to prevent the threat of war and armed conflict, and further strengthening of military cooperation in the current environment."

Khrenin's visit "will allow us to reaffirm the republic's commitment within the framework of international organizations, and will contribute to the further gradual development of military cooperation taking into account national interests and priorities," Interfax quoted the statement of the Belarusian Defense Ministry as saying.

  Belarus, Russia, Lukashenko