Why Belarusian troops launched a drill in Belarus

The line where Russia straddles Belarus and Poland, known as the Agbaslach, is supposed to stand near the border at a security control point. But the road had never been cleared for army drills….

Why Belarusian troops launched a drill in Belarus

The line where Russia straddles Belarus and Poland, known as the Agbaslach, is supposed to stand near the border at a security control point. But the road had never been cleared for army drills.

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko admitted he had sanctioned the drills by his troops after a letter from Poland’s president Nikos Anastasiades poured cold water on their openness.

“Such activity is not permissible without our consent,” Lukashenko was quoted as saying by the Belarussian news agency Belta. “I acknowledge that our soldiers were in the Agbaslach without my approval.”

Poland’s Defence Minister Antoni Macierewicz accused Moscow of ignoring international treaties, and called for action against “a blatant infringement of the limits of [the] alliance”.

The alert comes less than a week after Russia ordered a military buildup in its exclave of Kaliningrad, a departure from its claims of an imaginary threat from NATO.

After the US declared that Russia had violated the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), the Kremlin retaliated with a plan to deploy cruise missiles within Europe.

Lukashenko said there was no “evidence that any offensive Russian missiles will be placed in Belarus”, and that any potential NATO ships in the waters of Kaliningrad would have to be accompanied by warships from their “colonial partners”.

He added that “saying that Polish-Belarusian relations are strained” was “simply a result of manipulating facts”.

“The fact that Belarusian soldiers are doing exercises on Polish territory is no proof of Moscow’s plans,” he said.

Lukashenko’s response comes despite statements by President Donald Trump and White House press secretary Sarah Sanders that there has been no change in US policy toward Russia.

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