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Belarus and Russia to continue military drills north of Ukraine

Belarus and Russia are to continue holding joint military exercises, meaning that Russian troops will not be withdrawn from the country as previously announced, Belarusian Defence Minister Viktor Khrenin says.

Minsk, 20 February 2022 (dpa/MIA) — Belarus and Russia are to continue holding joint military exercises, meaning that Russian troops will not be withdrawn from the country as previously announced, Belarusian Defense Minister Viktor Khrenin says.

The drills had been due to end Sunday. The move further intensifies pressure on Ukraine as Western leaders and the NATO military alliance warn of an imminent full-scale invasion of Ukraine by Russia.

Khrenin said the decision had been taken because of rising tensions in Ukraine’s disputed Donbass region and “in connection with the increase in military activity near the external borders” of Russia and Belarus.

The NATO military alliance says the 30,000 troops that Russia currently has in Belarus could form part of the planned incursion.

Russia has repeatedly denied any planned incursion into Ukrainian territory.

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