Belarus begins military drills near Poland and Lithuania - M5 Dergi
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Belarus begins military drills near Poland and Lithuania

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Belarus has begun military exercises near its border with Poland and Lithuania, the Associated Press news agency said. The move comes following tensions over the deployment of Russia’s Wagner mercenaries in the country.

The Belarusian Defence Ministry said the drills incorporate experience from the war in Ukraine, calling it “the special military operation”, adding that the exercises involved the “use of drones as well as the close interaction of tank and motorised rifle units with units of other branches of the armed forces”.

Lithuania and Poland say the presence of thousands of Wagner troops following their short-lived mutiny in Russia could be a threat. Since their arrival in Belarus, they have been shown allegedly training local forces.

Warsaw says the Wagner mercenaries may be used for aggressive actions near the so-called Suwalki Gap, a 100-kilometre stretch of land connecting Poland with Lithuania, which is flanked by Belarus and Russia’s exclave of Kaliningrad.

Officials and analysts worry the gap could be seized in a potential conflict, cutting off the Baltic states from the rest of NATO.

The war games in Belarus took place in Grodno, the region bordering the Suwalki Gap.

On Tuesday, the chief of Lithuania’s State Border Guard Service (VSAT), Rustamas Liubajevas, said the drills were not large and did not pose a major threat to Lithuania.

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