Russian troops arrive in Belarus under new deal

TEHRAN, Oct. 16 (MNA) – The first trains carrying Russian soldiers to Belarus under a new deal have reached their destinations, the Belarusian Ministry of Defense said on Saturday.

The ministry said in a statement, “the decision to create a regional grouping of troops has been taken and is being implemented solely to defend” the borders of the Union State amid the “ongoing activity in the border areas", RT reported.

This comes after Moscow and Minsk agreed earlier this week to deploy a joint force in response to NATO’s increased military activity on Belarus’ frontier.

"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.

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 192483

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