Russia has sent Tu-22M3 strategic bombers to jointly patrol the western border of Belarus, reported the Belarusian Defense Ministry.
The Belarusian Defense Ministry said that a joint tactical group of troops, which also includes multifunctional SU-30SM fighters of the two countries, is on combat duty in Belarus.
The Russian Ministry of Defense also noted that two long-range bombers Tu-22M3 of the Aerospace Forces "performed patrols in the airspace of the Republic of Belarus." It is reported that during the flight lasting about four hours, the crews worked out " joint tasks with aviation and air defense troops" of the armed forces of Belarus.
Earlier, Minsk said that NATO increased flights of its air forces along the Belarusian border, including in the territory of Ukraine.
Earlier, Belarusian Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei said that Belarus is ready to deploy Russian nuclear weapons on the territory of the country in the event of a threat from NATO.
Relations between Belarus and the European Union have deteriorated significantly after the presidential elections in August 2020. The West and Ukraine do not recognize Lukashenko as the legitimate president of Belarus.
The West also accuses Moscow of escalating the conflict with Ukraine and threatening a new military invasion. According to NATO, Russia could deploy up to 100,000 troops to the border with Ukraine. Moscow denies such intentions and at the same time accuses the West of arming Ukraine and conducting maneuvers near the Russian borders.
On December 17, the Russian Foreign Ministry published a package of requirements demanding security guarantees, which include, in particular, NATO’s refusal to further expand to the East and admit Ukraine into the Allience, as well as stopping military activities in the countries of Eastern Europe, Transcaucasia and Central Asia, and the refusal to deploy medium-range, short-range missiles withing the reach of Russia’s territory.