Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

International

NATO rings alarm bells over Moscow’s drills in Belarus

Stoltenberg calls it the biggest Russian deployment there since the Cold War, with an expected 30,000 combat troops.

Tanks ride during joint exercises of the armed forces of Russia and Belarus as part of an inspection of the Union State's Response Force, at a firing range in Belarus, in this still image from a handout video released February 2, 2022. Russian Defence Ministry/Handout via REUTERS

KIEV: NATO expressed concern on Thursday over Russia’s troop deployment towards Ukraine’s northern border, in Belarus where the military exercises are set to commence from Feb 20.

Moscow describes the so-called Allied Resolve exercises as a rehearsal for repelling external aggression, primarily from NATO.

Alarm bells started ringing as soon as the Russian Defense Minister reached Belarus to inspect preparations for the planned exercises. During the visit, Sergei Shoigu will also meet Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said: “Over the last days, we have seen a significant movement of Russian military forces into Belarus.

This handout video grab taken and released by the Russian Defence Ministry on February 2 shows tanks on a field during joint exercises of the armed forces of Russia and Belarus as part of an inspection of the Union State's Response Force, at a firing range in Belarus. — AFP
This handout video grab taken and released by the Russian Defence Ministry on February 2 shows tanks on a field during joint exercises of the armed forces of Russia and Belarus as part of an inspection of the Union State’s Response Force, at a firing range in Belarus. — AFP

“This is the biggest Russian deployment there since the Cold War, with an expected 30,000 combat troops” as well as Spetsnaz special operations forces, SU-35 fighter jets, S-400 air defense systems, and nuclear-capable Iskander missiles, he said.

Meanwhile, Russia accused the U.S. of ramping up tensions by its provocative actions such as the deployment of troops in Poland and Romania. The U.S. has reportedly sent 1,000 soldiers to Romania and 2,000 to Poland to bolster Nato’s eastern flank.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, in a video conference with reporters on Thursday, said: “It’s obvious that these are not steps aimed at de-escalating tensions, but on the contrary, they are actions that lead to increasing tension.”

“We constantly call on our American counterparts to stop aggravating tensions on the European continent. Unfortunately, the Americans continue to do so,” he added.

Washington termed the reinforcements “a tool to send a strong signal to Putin.” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby stressed the US troop movements were to demonstrate commitment to the NATO alliance, and that no US soldiers would be sent to fight in Ukraine.

President Joe Biden said on Wednesday: “As long as (President Vladimir Putin) is acting aggressively, we are going to make sure we reassure our NATO allies in eastern Europe that we’re there.”

TURKISH Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and his Ukrainian counterpart, Dmytro Kuleba, exchange documents at a signing ceremony following a meeting between Presidents Tayyip Erdogan and Volodymyr Zelenskiy in Kiev.—Reuters
TURKISH Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and his Ukrainian counterpart, Dmytro Kuleba, exchange documents at a signing ceremony following a meeting between Presidents Tayyip Erdogan and Volodymyr Zelenskiy in Kiev.—Reuters

Erdogan in Kiev

In a related development, the Turkish President who is on a visit to Kiev, said on Thursday that he intends to hold a Ukraine-Russia peace summit. This comes at the back of EU leaders’ extensive outreach to the Kremlin to defuse impending fears of Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

The Turkish leader is looking to leverage his special relations with Putin and strong support for Kiev to set up a peace talk. Ukrainian Leader Zelensky thanked the President for the efforts and insisted he was “ready to do everything possible in all platforms and in all formats” to bring peace to Ukraine.

Turkey is also in talks with Kiev to supply combat drones — and the two sides on Thursday inked a fresh deal aimed at expanding drone production in Ukraine.

Shahmir Niazi
Written By

The author covers politics and foreign affairs for Truth International Magazine. He can be reached at shahmir.niazi@tti.org.pk or at https://twitter.com/shahmir_niazi

Latest Updates

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif today approved the name of Syed Asim Munir as the next army chief of Pakistan. At present, Lt-General Syed...

Articles

The Foreign Minister also welcomed the launch of joint direct flights by Pakistan Airlines and Ethiopian Airlines between the two countries.

National

ISLAMABAD: Federal Information Minister said the Prime Minister has appointed Syed Asim Munir as the next army chief of Pakistan. Asim Munir is the...

Health & Education

Between January 1 and October 31, 2022, a shocking number of 519 people tested positive for HIV in Islamabad. The majority of these individuals are...