Jens Stoltenberg, NATO Secretary General, called the inspection of the rapid reaction forces of the Union State the largest transfer of Russian troops to Belarus since the Cold War. In total, up to 30,000 troops, including heavy weapons, may be deployed in Belarus.
“Over the last days, we have seen a significant movement of Russian military forces into Belarus. This is the biggest Russian deployment there since the Cold War, with unexpected 30,000 combat troops, special forces units, fighters jets, including Su-35, Iskander dual-capable missiles and S-400 air defense systems. So, we speak about a wide range of modern military capabilities. All this will be combined with Russia’s annual nuclear forces exercise expected to take place this month,” Stoltenberg said at a conference following a meeting with Dimitar Kovacevski, North Macedonian Prime Minister.
Stoltenberg linked the actions of Belarus with the escalation of the situation around Ukraine by Russia. He recalled the deployment of more than 100,000 Russian troops near the border with the country. The NATO Secretary General once again called on Moscow to de-escalate and reaffirmed the alliance’s commitment to a political solution to the crisis. He welcomed the U.S. decision to send additional forces to Europe, as well as NATO countries to increase their presence on the eastern flank.
Sergei Shoigu, the Minister of Defense of Russia, said today that the transfer of troops is being completed, while, according to him, Belarus has deployed such a reception infrastructure that allows receiving reserves. Aliaksandr Lukashenka also noted that one of the goals of the “Union Resolve – 2022” exercise is to acquaint the Belarusian military with the modern models of Russian military equipment.