Ukraine says “ready” when Belarus suddenly announces military exercises to test combat readiness

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Ukraine promises Wednesday which is “ready” after its northern neighbor Belarus – which Russia used as a stepping stone for its invasion – announced military exercises to assess the combat readiness of their armed forces.

The Belarusian Ministry of Defense said that the exercises that began on Wednesday would also be used to assess the ability of their military to operate on “unknown terrain in a rapidly changing situation”.

“We do not rule out that the Russian Federation may at some point use the territory of Belarus, the Armed Forces of the Republic of Belarus, against Ukraine,” said Andriy Demchenko, spokesman for the Ukrainian Border Service, according to Reuters.

The Russian and Belarusian militaries take part in a military exercise in Gomel, Belarus on February 19.

The Russian and Belarusian militaries take part in a military exercise in Gomel, Belarus on February 19.

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“Therefore, we are ready,” he promised, adding, reportedly, that Ukraine has strengthened its border with Belarus since the invasion began on February 24.

Russia held joint military exercises with Belarus before the ongoing war in Ukraine.

Russian President Vladimir Putin on the right, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko on the left and Roscosmos Russian leader Dmitry Rogozin visit the Vostochny Cosmodrome.

Russian President Vladimir Putin on the right, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko on the left and Roscosmos Russian leader Dmitry Rogozin visit the Vostochny Cosmodrome.
(Evgeny Biyatov, Sputnik, photo of the Kremlin pool via AP)

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Belarusian officials did not say how many troops are involved in the exercises, but noted that their numbers would gradually increase.

Armored vehicles of Belarus were seen on February 17 during joint exercises of the Russian and Belarusian armed forces at a firing range near the town of Osipovichi, outside Minsk.
(Photo by MAXIM GUCHEK / BELTA / AFP via Getty Images)

He said the maneuvers “do not threaten the European community in general and neighboring countries in particular”.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.