A train carrying Russian troops and equipment arrived in Belarus. There are concerns that Russia will use the allied territory to attack Ukraine from the north. The Belarusian Defense Ministry confirmed the arrival of the delegation on Friday, saying President Alexander Lukashenko had visited a military base where Russian troops were already stationed.
During the meeting, Lukashenko and an unnamed representative of the Russian military discussed joint military exercises between the two countries, the sources said.
The Russian military is “ready to carry out its intended mission,” the representative said. The development came after Belarus, which has backed Russia in the war in Ukraine, said on Thursday it would receive more weapons and equipment from its neighbor as the two countries continue to step up military cooperation. “Personnel, weapons, military and special equipment of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation will continue to arrive in the Republic of Belarus,” the statement said. The two countries are preparing for joint air force exercises, the ministry said, without elaborating further.
The Belarusian government has repeatedly stated that it will not participate in Russia’s war in Ukraine. However, under the guise of military exercises, Moscow deployed thousands of troops into Belarusian territory before launching the offensive, and when the invasion began on February 24, it turned its forces toward Ukraine. Kyiv said Russia continues to use Belarusian airspace for drone and missile strikes. A new attack on Ukraine from Belarus opens a new major front in a war that has claimed tens of thousands of lives. Lukashenko accuses Western powers of seeking confrontation with Russia and causing the ongoing bloodshed, blaming the West for the war.