'Due to increased military activity near the borders' Russia and Belarus to continue joint exercises

Despite the fact that the joint Russia-Belarus exercises were scheduled to end on Sunday, February 20. Russian President Vladimir Putin and Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko decided to continue combat readiness check of the joint response forces - as Belarusian Defense Minister Viktor Khrenin explained, "in connection with the increase in military activity near the external borders of the Union State and the aggravation of the situation" in the east of Ukraine.

According to him, during further exercises, "further stages of defense will be worked out." At the same time, the maneuvers will still be focused on ensuring "adequate response and countering  military preparations of ill-wishers".

On February 16, the Belarusian authorities assured that at the end of the Allied Resolve 2022 exercises all Russian troops and military equipment would leave the country. "Not a single serviceman, not a single unit of military equipment will remain after that," said Belarusian Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei. Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko and the Ministry of Defense also promised complete withdrawal of Russian troops from the territory of Belarus after the maneuvers.

The Allied Resolve-2022 exercises are held in Belarus from 10 to 20 February. The U.S. and EU said that these exercised will lead to further escalation in the region. The situation in the Donbas has sharply deteriorated since the beginning of the exercises.

On February 19 alone, the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) recorded more than 1500 ceasefire violations. US President Joe Biden said that the Kremlin has already made a decision to invade Ukraine. According to Western intelligence agencies, about 150,000 Russian troops are amassed along the Ukrainian border. Moscow says it is not planning an attack.

  Belarus, Russia

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