First convoy transporting Russia troops arrives in Belarus
The first convoy of Russian troops arrives in Belarus as part of the regional grouping of forces from the Russian Federation and the Republic of Belarus.
The first trains transporting Russian troops from the joint regional military group arrived in Belarus on Saturday, according to the Belarusian Defense Ministry.
"The first convoys of Russian servicemen from the regional force group have arrived in Belarus," the ministry said, adding that their mission was "exclusively to strengthen the protection and defense of the border."
Earlier, on October 10, Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko agreed on the deployment of a joint regional group of forces in light of recent developments in Ukraine.
The Belta News Agency revealed this major turn of tides by citing official sources from Minsk: "In connection with the aggravation of the situation on the western borders of the Union State, we agreed to deploy a regional grouping of forces from the Russian Federation and the Republic of Belarus. This complies with our documents. They say that if the threat reaches the level it has now, we begin to use the Union State grouping of forces."
According to Lukashenko, the Belarusian Army constitutes the basis or majority of this formation: "I must inform you that the formation of this grouping has begun. It has been going on for, I think two days. I gave an order to start forming this group," Lukashenko said.
Russia and Belarus are members of the Union State, a supranational organization formed in the 1990s with the objective of integrating both nations' political, economic, and defense policies. Its military doctrine declares that any aggression against either member is an 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.
Later on Monday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov confirmed that "interaction in various fields, including defense, is constantly being discussed during bilateral contacts between Presidents Putin and Lukashenko," and that this is pronounced in the Union State's military doctrine.
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