Source: www.foxnews.com : 2022-07-12 15:05:45 : Caitlin McFall
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Belarus on Tuesday announced it launched military drills along its shared border with Ukraine in an effort to assess the readiness of its territorial troops, Belarusian defense officials said.
The drills are slated to last from July 12-14 and will assess troop preparedness for combat tasks and test the command abilities of reserve officers, the Belarusian Defense Ministry said in a Telegram post.
The drills will be held in the Gomel region, which shares a border with Ukraine in an area directly north of Kyiv.
Separate communication drills are being held from July 11-15 and will be led by the Chief of Communications of the Armed Forces.
The Belarusian Ministry of Defense said the training will not only assess the readiness of military units in the area, but will “work out the issues of building up and functioning the communications system.”
“Tactical and special training with the communications forces” will be overseen by Chief of the Communications Department of the General Staff of the Armed Forces, Major General Oleg Myshchenko.
The servicemen will also be trained on new forms of communication networks for field support during combat.
The drills were previously planned according to the Belarusian Defense Ministry, though it was unclear when they were planned.
The announcement on the latest round of military drills near Ukraine’s northern border comes just one month after Minsk said its forces had begun combat readiness training and weeks after Russia was allowed to fire missiles at Ukrainian targets from within Belarus’ borders.
In early June Ukrainian President Volodymy Zelenskyy said the threat of a ground invasion by Belarus in support of Russia was minimal but noted that Ukraine was “preparing for all the risks of an invasion.”
By late June Zelenskyy had accused Moscow of attempting to drag Minsk into the war after the Ukrainian Defense Ministry said “a mass rocket-bomb strike was launched” after 12 cruise missiles were fired from Russian planes flying over Belarusian airspace.
Western defense officials have long assessed that Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko – the only European leader to back Moscow – is balancing the threat of entering a war and his unwavering support for Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Lukashenko – who faced mass protests following the 2020 re-election that many believed was rigged – could face backlash at home, international sanctions and resistance in the Belarusian armed forces if he enters Putin’s war.
It is unclear how well Ukraine would be able to fend off a second offensive in the north as its eastern and southern regions continued to be pummeled by Russian forces.
Ukrainian officials have suggested they have a plan to counter Russia’s forces in its southern regions by launching “a million-strong” resistance force equipped with modern western weaponry.
“We have approximately 700,000 in the armed forces and when you add the national guard, police, border guard, we are around a million-strong.” Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov told The Times Sunday.
Ukraine has urged civilians in its southern regions to evacuate as soon as they can ahead of the counter-attack.
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