Russia as well as Belarus have started 10 days of joint military drills amid continuous anxieties of a Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Belarus is a close ally of Russia and has a long border with Ukraine.

France called the drills – thought to be Russia’s biggest release to Belarus because the Cold War – a “fierce motion”. Ukraine says they total up to “psychological stress”.

UK Head Of State Boris Johnson stated on Thursday that Europe faces its greatest safety and security dilemma in years.

Russia has actually consistently denied any strategies to attack Ukraine in spite of massing greater than 100,000 troops at the boundary.

LIVE: Attempts to defuse Ukraine situation as tensions place

However the United States and also other Western countries have actually cautioned that an assault could come at any time.

Map showing Russian troops near Ukraine, Feb 2022The exercises – called Allied Willpower 2022 – are happening close to the Belarusian boundary with Ukraine, which is a little over 1,000 km (620 miles) long.

There are anxieties that if Russia attempts to invade Ukraine, the workouts put Russian troops near to the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, making an attack on the city much easier.

Belarus leader Alexander Lukashenko is a firm ally of Russian Head of state Vladimir Putin and the two countries have developed a so-called “Union State” that includes financial and also armed forces assimilation. The Kremlin backed Mr Lukashenko after a disputed political election in 2020 that led to objections in Belarus.

‘Psychological pressure’

The United States says some 30,000 Russian soldiers are expected to take part in the drills with Belarus, although Moscow and also Minsk have actually not revealed the specific number of individuals.

The purpose of the dry run is to practice “fending off exterior hostility with a defensive operation”, according to the Russian protection ministry. Soldiers will also perform drills to secure the boundary and also block shipment networks for tools and ammo.

Russia urges that it can relocate its troops freely throughout its own region which of its allies with their contract. It claims the troops in Belarus will certainly go back to their bases after the exercises.

A Kremlin spokesman described the joint drills as major, stating Russia and Belarus were being “faced with unprecedented threats”.

However Ukraine and its Western allies have revealed concern over the drills.

Satellite image showing military equipment assembled near Yelsk, Belarus” The accumulation of pressures at the border is psychological stress from our neighbors,” Ukrainian Head of state Volodymyr Zelensky stated on Thursday.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told France Inter radio that it was a “extremely fierce gesture”, as well as the US has actually called the workouts an “escalatory” move.

Pilot flying a Russian fighter jet

‘Dangerous moment’

UK Head Of State Boris Johnson is taking a trip to Brussels as well as Warsaw on Thursday on behalf of Nato allies.

After satisfying Nato’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg he stated he didn’t assume a choice about a Russian intrusion of Ukraine had been made yet, however advised that “this is probably one of the most unsafe moment … in what is the largest safety dilemma that Europe has dealt with for years”.

At the same time the UK’s Foreign Assistant Liz Truss met her Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in Moscow on Thursday. She claimed Russia must move its soldiers far from the Ukrainian boundary if it was serious regarding utilizing diplomacy to restrain the dilemma.

Mr Lavrov said he was disappointed with the talks as well as charged Western politicians of making use of Ukraine as a “prop” to “improve their rankings”.

Moscow states it can not accept that Ukraine – a former Soviet republic with deep social and social connections with Russia – could someday join the Western defence alliance Nato and also has required that this be dismissed. It has been backing an armed rebellion in eastern Ukraine given that 2014.

Russia’s EU ambassador Vladimir Chizhov, nonetheless, told the BBC that his country still believed diplomacy can assist de-escalate the crisis over Ukraine.

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More talks focused on minimizing the tensions are anticipated to happen later on Thursday, and also will consist of Russian as well as Ukrainian envoys along with France and also Germany – known as the Normandy quartet.

There is some recommendation that a restored concentrate on the so-called Minsk agreements – which sought to finish the conflict in eastern Ukraine – can be utilized as a basis to soothe the existing crisis.

Ukraine, Russia, France and Germany backed the accords in 2014-2015.

Statements should be taken with a pinch of salt

Do you find on your own anxious regarding war, yet puzzled as to what’s REALLY taking place? You’re not the only one. To begin with, terminology in the Russia-Ukraine situation can be excessive: Minsk Agreements, Nord stream 2, the Warsaw Pact and the Normandy layout… What are they, and just how substantial?

And also just how can you be clear concerning what’s going on, if also essential political players appear uncertain. Does Vladimir Putin plan to invade Ukraine? Or is he serious concerning dialogue? We’re familiar with his safety demands from Nato, yet what is he going to approve?

Frustratingly, we can not even get clarity from the umpteen interview held by prominent worldwide political leaders, zooming around the region, wanting to de-escalate the crisis.

And why? Due to the fact that this is a huge geopolitical battle between Russia and the West. No-one intends to disclose their bargaining hand. Public declarations, after that, require to be taken with a sizable pinch of salt.

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Resources: BBC

Last Updated: 10 Feb 2022