MINSK, 22 October (BelTA) – Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko has instructed the state secretary of the Security Council and the defense minister to promptly work out an action plan to deliver an adequate response to actions relating to the deployment of armored vehicles and a contingent of U.S. armed forces in Lithuania in the direct vicinity of the Belarusian border, BelTA learned from State Secretary of the Security Council of Belarus Stanislav Zas.
According to the source, units of an American armored division are already arriving in Lithuania. They will be stationed in the training area Pabrade literally 15km away from the Belarusian border. “It is one of the largest training areas in Lithuania. There have been no American troops in Lithuania up till now. There are some now. Tank units were the first ones to arrive,” Stanislav Zas said.
The official stressed that one cannot remain a simple observer in this situation. “Any country works out response measures [to such steps on the part of neighboring countries]. The head of state has instructed the State Secretariat of the Security Council and the Defense Ministry to submit proposals on ways to respond to this fact. Such proposals will be worked out and reported to the head of state early next week,” the state secretary of the Security Council of Belarus said.
Stanislav Zas emphasized that these actions are being taken against the background of growing tensions in the region and the world. It cannot but affect the state of security. “We don't want that. It is up to Lithuania to decide whether it needs these additional tensions between our friendly nations,” he stated.
The same applies to Belarusian concerns about the forthcoming massive NATO exercise Defender Europe, which is supposed to take place in spring 2020. The exercise is expected to take place in ten European countries, including Belarus' neighbors – Poland, Lithuania, and Latvia. Military personnel from 18 countries will take part in it. “The Belarus president's reaction to the exercise is nothing special. It is balanced and adequate to the events scheduled for next year,” Stanislav Zas noted. “It will be one of the largest military exercises in the last 25 years. Some 40,000 military personnel from 18 NATO member states will take part in it. About half of them will be U.S. troops.”
In his words, the redeployment of troops from the USA to the European continent on a massive scale will be practiced as part of the exercise. “By various means. By sea, by air. Using sea ports and airfields of European countries. And by land from the bases that have been created in Europe,” Stanislav Zas explained.
“It is important to understand the background the exercise will be held in. All of us can see growing tensions between centers of power. Unfortunately, a return to the policy of militarization, a policy of the arms race is in progress. Military spending has been on the rise in all the neighboring countries for the last few years. More than that, their military spending is higher in monetary terms and in percentage of the GDP. The militarization of this region is obvious. And the exercise will be held in such a situation,” the state secretary of the Security Council of Belarus said.
BelTA reported earlier that during the CIS summit in Ashgabat on 11 October Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko expressed concerns about forthcoming large-scale NATO military exercises near Belarusian borders. Aleksandr Lukashenko said: “For some reason NATO has decided to arrange a large-scale military exercise near our borders virtually in several months. Thousands of personnel will be deployed on a never-before-seen scale in Poland and Baltic states. It is abnormal. It does not mean peace has come to Europe and no trouble spots like that will emerge in the future. It is an incomprehensible exercise.”
The Belarusian head of state made a few comments in the same spirit during the international conference “"European security: Stepping back from the brink"” in Minsk on 8 October.More about President