Belarus-Russia joint military group ready to defend Union State: Minsk
The Belarusian Deputy Defense Minister says Belarus and Russia will continue to improve joint military training.
Belarusian Deputy Defense Minister, Andrey Zhuk, affirmed on Friday that the Belarusian-Russian joint regional military detachment is ready to defend the Union State of Belarus and Russia amid the situation escalating near its western borders.
"As of today, we can state that the regional detachment is ready to defend the Union State," Zhuk told reporters, adding that Belarus and Russia will continue to improve joint military training.
The Belarusian diplomat indicated that "there will be training of inter-service units. A tactical aviation exercise is starting in the country [Belarus]. Then there will be various types of staff training. One of the phases of the training will be joint drills called 'Union Shield-2023.' This is what we are aiming for, I think the training will continue with good quality."
On his part, Alexander Volfovich, State Secretary of the Belarusian Security Council pointed out that the regional grouping of Belarusian and Russian forces is aimed at performing "exclusively defensive tasks and is designed primarily to protect the western borders of the Union State."
"The detachment has been successfully deployed, and joint combat training sessions have been organized with both Russian and Belarusian servicemen... The regional grouping of troops is one of the elements of strategic deterrence," Volfovich told reporters.
On New Year's Eve, the Russian Embassy in Minsk highlighted that bilateral ties between Russia and Belarus have reached new highs in light of recent geopolitical events that have increased both countries' commitment to the Union State.
"The outgoing year has clearly confirmed the readiness and firm intention of the fraternal peoples of Russia and Belarus to stick together, to follow the path of strengthening integration and cooperation based on the common centuries-old history, spiritual closeness, and friendship. The Russians and Belarusians today, as always, are the most loyal allies," the Russian Embassy said in a statement.
"Our economic cooperation is improving, industrial collaboration is developing, we are successfully implementing major joint projects in culture, sports and education. We have reached an unparalleled level of integration within the Union State," the Embassy explained, pointing out that the strengthening of their ties is a "natural response" to the changing global environment.
In early December, Russian President Vladimir Putin said at a meeting with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko that Moscow and Minsk are not only good neighbors but also have developed ally relations, including economic cooperation.
Talks between Putin and Lukashenko brought the latter to reaffirm that Russia can do without Belarus, but that Belarus can't do without Russia.
On October 10, Lukashenko said Minsk and Moscow agreed on deploying a joint military group as the security situation was declining on the western border of the Union State, a supranational union between Belarus and Russia founded in 2000 with the objective of integrating both nations' political, economic, and defense policies.
The Union State's military doctrine declares that any aggression against either member is aggression against both, which would call for "appropriate measures" to be taken "using all the forces and means" at the countries' disposal to neutralize the threat.
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