Putin bangs war drum as Russian forces arrive in Belarus ahead of huge show of strength

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Russian forces and equipment have recently arrived in Belarus ahead of military drills. Russian military armour has begun arriving en masse in Belarus. On Monday, the Belarusian president said: “We made plans for a military exercise in February some time ago.

“Please go ahead and set a specific date and announce it so nobody can accuse us of having massed troops all of a sudden and of being almost ready to go to war.”

Mr Lukashenko added the drills would be dubbed “Determination of the Union 2022″.

He said that the drills focus on a scenario in which his country’s military is forced to “resist forces coming from the West”.

This movement of military hardware comes after the Belarusian government announced that they would stage joint manoeuvres next month with Russia.

READ MORE: Russia prepares for invasion as Moscow releases border drills video

Russia president Vladimir Putin met with Mr Lukashenka in St. Petersburg on December 29.

He made a statement about their meeting that said the military exercises would be held in February or March in Belarus.

Mr Putin said: “As you presumed, we will hold them, the drills, and the militaries will agree their date, in March or February, when they decide.”

Mr Lukashenko asked Putin not to halt cooperation in the military sector with Belarus.

The Belarusian president said: “I have just requested you not to halt our joint drills so that we can continue setting up centers for training our guys, first of all, to learn to operate advanced weapon systems that we are purchasing from Russia.”

Mr Lukashenko then said he knew that his proposal to hold joint drills on the territory of Belarus was being considered.

The Belarusian president referred to Mr Putin and added: “I would want these decisions to be made by you.

“This will benefit the Belarus-Russia relations.”

Russia regularly conducts military drills with Belarus.

The last large-scale drill was a war game in September involving approximately 200,000 troops.



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