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25 October 2019, 19:58

MP baffled by U.S. tanks near Belarusian-Lithuanian border

Sergei Bobrikov. An archive photo
Sergei Bobrikov. An archive photo

MINSK, 25 October (BelTA) – The deployment of U.S. armored forces and a contingent of troops near the Belarusian-Lithuanian border cannot but cause bewilderment considering Belarus' peace-loving policy, BelTA learned from Deputy Chairman of the National Security Commission of the House of Representatives of the National Assembly of Belarus Sergei Bobrikov.

Belarus' military doctrine is purely defensive and the country pursues a peace-loving foreign policy. “We don't treat any other country as a potential adversary. Moreover, Belarus offers a venue for negotiations on resolving the situation in Ukraine's east. This is why these actions [to deploy military hardware and troops] cause even greater incomprehension,” the MP noted.

According to the source, the concern expressed in Belarus is only natural. “We have to consider counterbalancing measures. We have to respond to such actions. As the head of state says, we have to keep our powder dry. This is why he's given instructions to put together an adequate response plan,” the MP said.

BelTA reported earlier that the state secretary of the Security Council and the defense minister have been instructed to work out the response plan. It will be forwarded to the head of state soon.

The U.S. armored vehicles and a contingent of military personnel have been deployed in the training area Pabrade 15km away from the Belarusian border. It is one of the largest military training areas in Lithuania. There have been no American troops in Lithuania up till now.

The Belarusian side has also expressed 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. 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. During the CIS summit in Ashgabat on 11 October Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko expressed concerns about the Defender Europe exercise. 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.

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