Russia starts huge war games in Belarus – opening up a new front in intimidation of Ukraine

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Russia has deployed troops into Belarus to stage massive-scale war games near the Ukrainian border as fears of a potential armed battle in Ukraine proceed to escalate.

Russia’s Minister of Defence Sergey Shoygu right this moment introduced that Russia had despatched a main contingent of its Eastern Military Distict (VVO), together with aerial models and air defence models, to Belarus as half of a joint army train between the 2 international locations.

The ‘first stage’ of the war games lasts till February 9 and can see 1000’s of Russian troops assemble and organise defences as half of a battle-readiness operation.

Major war games will then be performed from February 10 and can see Russian and Belarusian models interact in a 10-day simulation of the ‘interception and suppression of international army aggression and counter-terrorism operations’ in what Shoygu dubbed ‘The Allied Resolve of 2022’.

Shoygu didn’t specify what number of troops would participate in the war games, however US ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield stated the US believes Russia will put up up to 30,000 troops in Belarus by early February. 

In the face of imminent war games, the US State Department yesterday issued journey advisory which ordered the departure of relations of US authorities staff from Belarus.

It additionally warned Americans to not journey to Belarus ‘as a result of arbitrary enforcement of legal guidelines, the chance of detention, and strange and regarding Russian army buildup alongside Belarus’ border with Ukraine.’ 

Russia in the meantime has constantly denied it has any plans to invade Ukraine, and has accused NATO and the West of escalating tensions with continued threats of sanctions and army aggression.

It comes as Boris Johnson flies to Kiev right this moment the place he’ll meet president Volodymyr Zelensky towards the backdrop of Moscow’s menacing army mobilisation. 

Key figures on all sides are holding a sequence of conferences right this moment for very important talks over Ukraine, one of which sees Russian President Vladimir Putin welcome Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban to Moscow. 

Despite being a member of NATO, Hungary maintains sturdy diplomatic ties with Russia and is anticipated to request a rise in fuel provide – a transfer which was strongly condemned by opposition events.

In this photograph taken from video and launched by the Russian Defense Ministry Press Service on Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2022, Russian army automobiles are parked on the a army subject camp previous to Russia-Belarus army drills on the Brestsky coaching floor in the Republic of Belarus

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky right this moment signed a decree to extend the dimensions of Ukraine’s armed forces by 100,000 troops over three years and lift troopers’ salaries, however insisted the transfer didn’t imply war with Russia was imminent (Ukrainian tanks participate in drills in Eastern Ukraine, Jan 31)

Major war games will then be performed from February 10 and can see Russian and Belarusian models interact in 10 days of army workout routines designed to simulate the ‘interception and suppression of international army aggression’ in what Shoygu dubbed ‘The Allied Resolve of 2022’

A map exhibiting the place Putin’s forces have assembled on Ukraine’s borders, the army choices Putin is likely to be contemplating, and key targets he would doubtless go after in the occasion he chooses to invade – one thing the US and NATO proceed to warn could possibly be simply weeks away from occurring

Russian Ministry of Defense convention with heads of Armed Forces, February 01, 2022. Russia has deployed troops into Belarus to stage massive-scale war games near the Ukrainian border as fears of a potential armed battle in Ukraine proceed to escalate

Russia’s Minister of Defence Sergey Shoygu (third from left) right this moment introduced that Russia had despatched a main contingent of its Eastern Military Distict (VVO), together with aerial models and air defence models, to Belarus as half of a joint army train between the 2 international locations

‘We’ve seen proof that Russia intends to broaden that presence to greater than 30,000 troops close to the Belarus border’ with Ukraine by early February, US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield informed the UN Security Council Monday, noting the forces can be ‘lower than two hours north of Kiev.’

But her Russian counterpart, Vasily Nebenzya, rejected the allegations and stated Washington was partaking ‘in hysterics’ by calling the Council meeting held Monday on Ukraine.

‘The discussions about a menace of war is provocative in and of itself. You are virtually calling for this, you need it to occur,’ Nebenzya stated. 

The Russian diplomat additionally identified that no Russian official had threatened to invade the previous Soviet republic and that Ukrainians have been being ‘brainwashed’ by the ‘Russiaphobia’ of the West.

He insisted that any troops being despatched to Belarus have been there to participate in the joint army workout routines and nothing extra. 

The order from the State Department for US residents to go away Belarus got here hours after Washington and Moscow clashed over Ukraine at a UN Security Council meeting yesterday in which US diplomats threatened to slap sanctions on rich Russian oligarchs if Putin decides to assault Ukraine.

White House Press secretary Jen Psaki stated: ‘Russia has the ability. They are the aggressor right here. They have the ability and skill to de-escalate, to drag their troops again from the border, to not push extra troops to Belarus, to take steps to deescalate the state of affairs on the bottom.’ 

Russian Ambassador to the United Nations Vasily Nebenzya (L) yesterday accused the US of ginning up ‘hysterics’ and ‘brainwashing’ Ukrainians at a heated United Nations Security Council meeting. US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield (R) stated she was ‘disillusioned’ however not ‘shocked’ by his feedback and claimed Moscow is mobilizing 30,000 extra troops to ship to the Belarus-Ukraine border

The ‘first stage’ of the war games lasts till February 9 and can see 1000’s of Russian troops assemble and organise defences as half of a battle-readiness operation

Meanwhile, a number of key figures concerned in the Ukraine disaster are set to share calls and conferences right this moment as nations scramble to stop the stress from escalating to an armed battle.

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov are anticipated to share one other cellphone name, one week after Blinken prolonged a diplomatic proposal to step away from a potential battle.

Blinken final week described the proposal as one thing that gives Russia ‘a critical diplomatic path ahead,’ however assured that NATO allied nations didn’t bow to Russia’s demand that it bar ex-Soviet bloc international locations from coming into the 30-nation army alliance. 

US authorities claimed Russia had despatched a written response to the proposal – one thing which was denied earlier right this moment by Lavrov. 

Meanwhile, Putin will host Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban for talks in Moscow right this moment.

Hungary will doubtless request Russia to extend its fuel provide at a time when some in Europe accuse Russia of orchestrating an vitality disaster to strain European international locations.

Orban travels to Moscow in defiance of calls to cancel the journey from opposition events, who stated in a joint assertion that it’s ‘opposite to our nationwide pursuits’.

Hungary is a member state of NATO, however maintains sturdy diplomatic ties with Russia and has refused to simply accept international NATO troops being deployed in its territory amid stress over Ukraine.

Hungarian Defence Minister Tibor Benko stated in an interview Tuesday morning that leaders ought to shrink back from ‘Cold War rhetoric’.

‘There’s no want for 1,000 NATO troopers to come back to Hungary and be stationed right here completely,’ he informed public media, including ‘nobody needs to create a state of affairs the place individuals are afraid and anxious by exhibiting off their forces’.

Elsewhere, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson right this moment travels to Ukraine to fulfill with President Volodymyr Zelensky to debate the disaster and NATO’s guarantees to offer the japanese European nation with army help in the occasion of an invasion.

The meeting between Johnson and Zelensky comes sooner or later after Johnson cancelled a scheduled name with Vladimir Putin as he scrambled to handle the fallout of the Partygate scandal.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson pictured holding the ministerial briefcase earlier than boarding an plane to Kiev, the place he’ll meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, February 1, 2022

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson right this moment travels to Ukraine to fulfill with President Volodymyr Zelensky to debate the disaster and NATO’s guarantees to offer the japanese European nation with army help in the occasion of an invasion

Shadow Foreign Secretary David Lammy stated the studies of the delayed cellphone name confirmed there have been ‘actual world penalties’ of having a Prime Minister combating for his political survival and ‘a very important diplomatic alternative has been missed’. 

And Moscow’s pro-Kremlin media ruthlessly mocked Johnson over Partygate, accusing him of exploiting the disaster in Ukraine to distract from home chaos.

One TV channel branded him ‘probably the most disliked, disrespected and ridiculed character in Britain’ who was ‘utterly beneath the management and heel of his younger spouse’ Carrie.

Zelensky in the meantime signed a decree to extend the dimensions of Ukraine’s armed forces by 100,000 troops over three years and lift troopers’ salaries, however insisted the transfer didn’t imply war with Russia was imminent.

The 92nd separate mechanized brigade of Ukrainian Armed Forces tanks put together to participate in a drill close to Klugino-Bashkirivka village not removed from Eastern Ukrainian metropolis of Kharkiv, 31 January 2022

Although Russia has massed tens of 1000’s of troops close to Ukraine’s borders, Zelenskiy has repeatedly pushed again towards warnings by the United States and different NATO allies that Russia may assault Ukraine at any second.

‘This decree (was ready) not as a result of we’ll quickly have a war… however in order that quickly and in the longer term there shall be peace in Ukraine,’ Zelensky stated.

There are at the moment practically 250,000 folks in Ukraine’s armed forces, that are vastly outnumbered and outgunned by Russia’s.

‘We should be united in home politics. You could be in opposition to the federal government, however you may’t be in opposition to Ukraine,’ Zelensky stated.

Zelensky may also meet Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki right this moment.