Belarusian and Russian airborne units are taking part in joint military exercises organised near an area where a large group of migrants are camped on the Belarusian side of the border with Poland.
The exercise at the Gozhsky training ground involved airborne units landing and carrying out combat training, including capturing and holding a bridgehead and searching and destroying enemy targets, the Belarusian defence ministry said.
The Russian news agency RIA Novosti reported on Friday that the Russian Defence Ministry had said the country’s airborne troops would return to their bases once the exercises were over.
According to the Associated Press agency, deputy permanent representative of the Russian Federation to the United Nations Dmitry Polyanskiy said that the exercises were “a response to the build-up of troops at the Polish-Belarusian border.”
On Thursday, the Belarusian Ministry of Defense accused Poland of an “unprecedented” concentration of troops on the border. It said that controlling migration was no justification for amassing 15,000 troops supported by tanks and air force units.
The European Commission stated that reports regarding joint Belarusian-Russian exercises were “disturbing.”
At Thursday’s meeting of the UN Security Council, its European members as well as the US condemned Belarus for the instrumental treatment of human beings, leading to “destabilisation of the EU’s external border.” Russia, Belarus’s main ally, did not condemn the actions of the Alyaksandr Lukashenka regime.
The thousands of migrants, brought in by the Belarusian regime, are camping in the border area with the intention of getting into Poland, and then further into the European Union.
Earlier in November, Lukashenka said he could cut off Russian gas supplies to Europe through pipelines over Belarus. However, the Kremlin appeared to distance itself from that threat on Friday, saying Russia had not been consulted before Lukashenka’s remarks and would meet all gas delivery contracts.