Large scale military exercises to take place in western Belarus

Large scale military exercises will today take place along Belarus’ border with Poland, after President Alexander Lukashenko ordered the nation’s

Belarus Military Exercises

Photo: Natalia Fedosenko/TASS

Large scale military exercises will today take place along Belarus’ border with Poland, after President Alexander Lukashenko ordered the nation’s defence minister to enact “stringent measures” in response to perceived NATO activity near the region.

NATO has condemned Lukashenko’s allegations that troops in Lithuania and Poland are “seriously stirring,” calling such claims baseless. The president issued the military order amidst mass protests prompted by the highly disputed August 9 presidential election results, which held that Lukashenko obtained 80% of the vote and saw opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya forced into exile. Lukashenko has blamed the protests on “foreign-backed revolutionaries”, declined to hold new elections and ignored calls for his resignation.

Lukashenko’s mobilisation of the military is an effort to divert attention from domestic turmoil and towards externalised national security threats, especially as Minsk comes under fire for its violent crackdown on protesters. However, the demonstrations seem unlikely to cease in the short-term with Belarusian workers continuing to organise strikes. Sustained military aggression by Lukashenko’s administration will likely therefore prompt a harsher response from Belarus’ European neighbours, which have already unified to impose sanctions on the regime.

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