Lukashenko’s visit to Russian troops stationed in Belarus

PARIS (Reuters) – Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko visited Russian troops stationed at a military base in Belarus, the Belarusian Defense Ministry said on Friday.

During the meeting, Alexander Lukashenko and an unnamed Russian military official discussed joint military exercises between Russia and Belarus, the ministry said.

“At this stage, the units of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation are ready to perform the planned tasks,” the Russian representative said.

Belarus and Russia, close allies, announced on Thursday the reinforcement of their joint military grouping in Belarus with weapons, soldiers and specialized equipment and the preparation of joint exercises for the air forces.

A train carrying Russian troops and equipment arrived in Belarus on Friday, the Belarusian Defense Ministry said.

The build-up of Russian troops in Belarus has raised fears in Kyiv that Moscow will launch a new ground invasion from the north, a step that would open a major new front in the war between the two countries.

(Written by Caleb Davis, Blandine Hénault for the French version, edited by Jean-Stéphane Brosse)

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