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25 April 2024, 11:47

Lukashenko: NATO is building up its offensive potential around Belarus

MINSK, 25 April (BelTA) – NATO is building up its offensive potential around Belarus, Belarusian President, Chairman of the 7th Belarusian People's Congress Aleksandr Lukashenko said at the meeting of the 7th Belarusian People's Congress on 25 April, BelTA has learned.

According to Aleksandr Lukashenko, 18 NATO countries, including Poland and the Baltic states, intend to spend at least 2% of their GDP on military matters this year. Some have already made it more than 3% of GDP. “The total volume of defense spending by NATO countries this year will amount to about €1.2 trillion for the first time in the history of the bloc,” the president stressed.

Brussels has decided to increase the number of rapid-reaction response forces to 300,000 troops (currently it is 80,000), to transform NATO’s Baltic air-policing mission into a military operation, as well as to reorganize the combat groups deployed in Poland and the Baltic states up to “brigade levels”. “They kept reproaching us for placing nuclear weapons on the territory of Belarus: “This means we will be subjected to the first strike if there is a clash.” Poland and the Baltics have given up their territories for complete militarization and transformation into strongholds for an attack in the east,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

“In this context, it should be noted that the German-Lithuanian agreement, which provides for the German military build-up in Lithuania, begins its implementation. On 8 April, a task force of the German Armed Forces was redeployed to Vilnius. It is tasked with studying the locations where the contingent will be stationed, making preparations for the formation of the brigade headquarters, which is to be completed by the end of the year. Reconnaissance, guidance and deployment,” the head of state said.

In his words, a brigade-level formation of the German Armed Forces would be deployed in Lithuania until 2028, as well as the forces and means of NATO's Combined Armed Forces currently stationed in Lithuania’s Rukla as part of the Forward Presence Battlegroup operation. The number of the compound will make up some 5,000 troops.

“I would like to reiterate that above 64,000 military of the U.S. Armed Forces (almost the size of the Belarusian army), as well as more than 33,000 NATO soldiers are permanently stationed in Europe. What are they doing here? What America are they defending here? Up to 20,000 of them are concentrated in Poland (close to our borders) and in the Baltic states. These troops are equipped with modern strike weapons and are capable of carrying out precision strikes on objects in Belarus and western regions [Russia]. They are conducting the relevant exercises now. The U.S. Air Force strategic bomber aircrafts, which regularly fly in the European continental region (for example, four American strategic bombers B-1B are stationed in Spain) are being used to train nuclear bombing, including on the territory of our country. They are training to use nuclear weapons,” the Belarusian leader said.

“This is an answer to those abroad, especially our self-exiled opposition, who criticize us for deploying nuclear weapons here,” the president stressed.
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