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Belarus begins military drills near borders with EU, Ukraine

by Nate Ostiller April 2, 2024 1:59 PM 2 min read
Security forces of the Belarusian Ministry of Internal Affairs at a training center in Minsk, Belarus on April 11, 2023. Photo for illustrative purposes. (Stringer/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
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The Belarusian military began military drills on April 2 near its borders with Poland and Lithuania to the west, and Ukraine to the south, the country's defense ministry said.

Belarus regularly holds military drills, including close to its borders with Ukraine and the EU.

The exercises, which the defense ministry said were intended to simulate defense scenarios in the case of martial law being implemented, will be held in the western Hrodno Oblast and the southern Homel Oblast, north of the Ukrainian border.

As the exercises were underway, Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko said that Belarus "is preparing for war" even though the country does not want to fight, the state-run media outlet Belta reported.

"If you want peace, prepare for war," Lukashenko said, adding that Belarus "does not need to threaten anyone."

Belarus last conducted military exercises in mid-March 2024, holding what it called a "comprehensive" check of the army's combat readiness.

Belarus is Moscow's close ally and has provided extensive support to Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, namely allowing Russian troops to launch their unsuccessful offensive toward Kyiv from its territory in 2022. Despite this, the Belarusian military has not directly participated in Russia's war.

In response to the aggressive posturing from Belarus, Latvia and Lithuania agreed in January 2024 to build increased border defenses.

Poland also said in November 2023 that it would deploy a tank battalion by the Belarusian border.  

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