Belarus Positions Tanks Near NATO's Doorstep

Written by Henrik Rothen

Mar.14 - 2024 10:18 PM CET

Photo: Drop of Light / Shutterstock.com
Photo: Drop of Light / Shutterstock.com
Belarus Positions Tanks Near NATO's Doorstep.

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Belarus has positioned tanks and mobilized troops close to its border with NATO, amidst escalating tensions between Russia and the Western alliance, highlighted by the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

The Kyiv Post reported on Thursday that the Belarusian military initiated large-scale military exercises, involving the deployment of troops and heavy military equipment, including tanks from the 19th Guards Mechanized Brigade, near the western frontier with Lithuania, a NATO member state.

Details from the Community of Railway Workers of Belarus, a group critical of Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko's regime, reveal that military equipment and personnel were transported to Oshmyany, merely 15 miles from the Lithuanian border, on Wednesday night. This convoy included four passenger cars carrying Belarusian soldiers and 42 cargo cars loaded with military hardware, notably featuring nine T-72B tanks.

Subsequent confirmation from Belarus' Ministry of Defense, as reported by the Belarusian Hajun news project, stated that the deployment comprised T-72B tanks and BMP-2 infantry fighting vehicles. Through a social media statement, the defense ministry announced an ongoing military exercise in the Oshmyany region, set to continue until April 5, with additional drills scheduled in other parts of Belarus, including regions proximate to Poland's border, another NATO affiliate.

The Belarusian army's statement, as translated by The Kyiv Post, indicated that the exercises would involve troop movements to specific locations for a series of drills, including live fire exercises, potentially leading to temporary restrictions on civilian transportation.

Amidst these developments, Lukashenko has levied accusations against Poland and the U.S., alleging a plot for a "large-scale provocation" to be falsely attributed to Russia and Belarus, drawing a controversial parallel to Adolf Hitler's actions at the onset of World War II. Belarusian Defense Minister Viktor Khrenin also issued a stark warning on Russian state TV, asserting Minsk's readiness to down any violating aircraft without prior notice.

In a related development, Belarus announced a new military doctrine earlier this year, permitting nuclear weapons use following a tactical nuclear weapons shipment from Russia at the end of 2023.

Concurrently, NATO is engaged in its most extensive European military drill in decades, Operation Steadfast Defender, which is set to run through May with participation from over 90,000 troops across all 32 member states.

Russia has criticized the exercise as a covert rehearsal for a NATO attack orchestrated by the U.S.

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