Belarus, Russia to form joint military group

TEHRAN, Oct. 10 (MNA) – Russian President Vladimir Putin and Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko have agreed on the deployment of a joint regional group of forces.

"In connection with the aggravation of the situation on the western borders of the Union State, we agreed to deploy a regional grouping of forces from the Russian Federation and the Republic of Belarus. This complies with our documents. They say that if the threat reaches the level it has now, we begin to use the Union State grouping of forces," Lukashenko said on Monday, his remarks cited by the Belta News Agency.

The Belarusian president clarified that the Belarusian Army constitutes the basis or core of this group of forces, Sputnik reported.

"I must inform you that the formation of this grouping has begun. It has been going on for, I think two days. I gave an order to start forming this group," Lukashenko said.

Earlier in the day, in a meeting with the country's military and security forces, Lukashenko warned Kyiv not to move forward with any plans to carry out the first strike on Belarus.

The Belarusian president said the message received from unofficial channels was that Ukraine was planning to create a 'Crimean Bridge Part II'-style scenario in Belarus.

"My answer was simple: tell the president of Ukraine and other insane individuals that the Crimean Bridge will seem like flowers to them if they touch even one meter of our territory with their dirty hands," Lukashenko said.

The president ordered the military and security forces, including the KGB, to determine what else needs to be done to strengthen Belarusian security, "taking into account the rapidly changing situation."

Commenting on Lukashenko's comments later in the day Monday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov confirmed that "interaction in various fields, including defense, is constantly being discussed during bilateral contacts between Presidents Putin and Lukashenko," and that this interaction is spelled out in the Union State's military doctrine.

Despite its territory being used by Russian forces in the early stages of Moscow's military operation in Ukraine, Belarus has so far managed to stay out of the conflict, with its forces deployed westward to face down NATO forces concentrated in Poland and the Baltics. The Ukrainian military launched several attacks against Belarus, with Lukashenko reporting in March that a Ukrainian Tochka-U missile had been shot down by Belarusian air defense troops. A second attack - targeting Belarusian military targets, was foiled in June.

ZZ/PR

News Code 192288

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