Russian troops to remain in Belarus. At least for now

Soldiers during the Belarus-Russia exercise “Union Resolve 2022.” February 19, 2022 Photo: Henadz Zhynkou / Xinhua News Agency / Forum

Belarusian Defense Minister Viktar Khrenin said that the testing of the Union State’s response forces would continue.

“Due to the increase in military activity near the external borders of the Union State and the aggravation of the situation in Donbas the presidents of the Republic of Belarus and the Russian Federation have decided to check the Union State’s response forces further,” Viktar Khrenin said, summarizing the preliminary results of the “Union Resolve” exercise.

According to Khrenin, there will be “clearly practiced stages of the Union State defense, which were not covered in such a detail by the training during the previous inspection period.”

“Its focus remains unchanged — it is designed to ensure an adequate response and de-escalation of military preparations by adversaries near our common borders,” Khrenin said.

The so-called inspection of the Union State response forces was to be held in two stages. The first one was to occur before February 9, and the second one was on February 10-20. The joint Russian-Belarusian exercise “Union Resolve 2022” was held within the second stage. Its purpose was “to prepare for suppression and repulsion of external aggression and counterterrorism and protection of interests of the Union State.”