The Belarusian armed forces commenced a series of military exercise in the close proximity to the borders with Poland and Lithuania in a move which seems to be a show of force at the time of heightened tenses in the country.
The 4-day exercises with missile and artillery units were launched on 17th August and take place at various training grounds in Grodno and Brest regions.
According to the Belarusian MoD, between 17th and 20th August ‘a number of tactical exercises with batteries of rocket battalions will be held at military training grounds and individual sections of the terrain (…) near Ostrovets, the Gozhsky and Neman training grounds.’
According to the official statement, elements of the 103rd Independent Guards Parachute Brigade as well as 6th and 11th Separate Mechanised Brigades take part in the exercise. They were placed in Obuz-Lesnovsky and Gozhsky training grounds, where they will engage in a series of scheduled combat training with live firing exercises.
The MoD also stated that sub-units of the ‘147th, 1146th and 740th anti-aircraft missile regiments moved to the designated areas and took up air defense combat duty as part of the protection of the State border of the Republic of Belarus in airspace.
Authorities in Minsk justify the exercise as a response to similar training events recently taking place in neighbouring Lithuania and Poland. They added that they’ve seen a massive military build-up on the NATO’s eastern flank, which is considered as a threat to the country’s security.
The Secretary of State at the Polish Ministry of Defense, Wojciech Skurkiewicz, confirmed that Poland same as other NATO member states, will closely monitor the situation in Belarus.
‘NATO is closely monitoring the situation in Belarus. (…) There is no NATO build up in the region. NATO’s multinational presence in the eastern part of the Alliance is not a threat to any country. It’s strictly defensive, proportionate & designed to prevent conflict & preserve peace.’ Oana Lungescu, NATO’s spokesperson, stated on Twitter.