Middle East

Russia, Belarus extend military exercises

Reuters Moscow / Kiev / Donetsk

Russia will extend its military training in Belarus, which was scheduled to end yesterday, the Belarusian Ministry of Defense announced.
The Ministry of Defense said the decision was made on the basis of military operations near the Russian-Belarus border and the situation in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine.
Sporadic bombardment across the line separating Ukrainian government forces and Russian-backed separatists in the region surged last week and continued yesterday.
Blinken told CNN that all signs suggest Russia is about to invade. Russia has repeatedly denied such plans.
“Everything we see suggests that this is serious and on the verge of aggression,” Blinken said, and the West is equally ready if Moscow invades. He added that he was.
“… We take every opportunity to see if diplomacy can discourage President Putin (Vladimir Putin) from doing this until the tank actually rolls and the plane flies. is needed.”
President Putin and French Prime Minister Emmanuel Macron have agreed over the phone the need for a diplomatic solution to the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the two governments said.
The French presidential adviser said the two sides agreed that a meeting of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) with representatives of Ukraine and Russia should be held today. Poland, now chair of the OSCE, said today at the request of Ukraine that it would convene an extraordinary meeting of the Council dedicated to the prevention of armed conflict.
Belarus does not say how long Russian troops in Belarus (NATO estimates 30,000) could stay in a country north of Ukraine. Defense Minister Viktor Khrenin of Belarus said the focus of the extended exercise was “to ensure proper response and deescalation of the military readiness of malicious people near our common border.”
The Kremlin did not comment on Belarusian training. Macron’s adviser said Putin repeatedly left Belarus after the exercises.
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) says Russia can use Belarusian troops as part of the invading army to attack Ukraine. Moscow denies such an intention.
“It’s no exaggeration to say that Europe is one step away from a war that was unimaginable a while ago,” Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala said in a television interview.
Mikairo Podryak, an adviser to the Ukrainian President’s Chief of Staff, told Reuters an extension of the exercise, emphasizing that official promises from Moscow should not be considered binding.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said repeated Western warnings that Russia was about to invade were provocative and could have a negative impact, but he did not elaborate on it. Russia says the West increased tensions by sending NATO reinforcements to Eastern Europe during the crisis.
Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in an interview with the BBC that sanctions could include restrictions on Russian companies’ access to the dollar and pound. But he admitted that such a threat may not discourage Moscow.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said it was time to implement at least some of the sanctions prepared by the West.
“Russia has to stop right now. You can see how the event is unfolding,” Kuleba said.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called for an immediate ceasefire in the eastern part of the country yesterday. A French presidential adviser said Macron blamed the separatists for new hostilities and Putin blamed Ukraine.
Yesterday, a Reuters reporter heard an explosion in the heart of the city of Donetsk in the eastern Donbas region, which is dominated by separatists. Heavy bombardment was heard elsewhere in the area.

http://www.gulf-times.com/story/710272/Russia-Belarus-extend-military-exercises Russia, Belarus extend military exercises

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