Military

China and Belarus Hold Joint Military Drills Near NATO and EU Borders

Published On Tue, 09 Jul 2024
kartik kumar
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Belarus and China commenced an 11-day joint military training exercise on Monday, the Belarusian defense ministry announced. The exercises, taking place near the Polish border, involve collaborative anti-terrorist training called Attacking Falcon, where military personnel from both nations will operate as a single unit at various stages, according to Major General Vadim Denisenko of Belarus.
Denisenko emphasized the complexity of global events and the need to adapt to new warfare methods, stating that these exercises would incorporate lessons learned over the past two years. Held near Brest, close to Poland and about 40 miles from Ukraine, the exercises occur amid heightened geopolitical tensions following Russias invasion of Ukraine. Belarus and China, under leaders Xi Jinping and Alexander Lukashenko, have strengthened their alliance, both being close allies of Russias Vladimir Putin. The start of the exercises coincided with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskys visit to Warsaw, where he signed a security agreement with Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk, and also preceded NATOs 75th anniversary summit in Washington, focusing on support for Ukraine.
NATO and the EU have previously accused Belarus of weaponizing migration by pushing asylum-seekers to its borders, and these exercises may be seen as further provocation. Belarus has been a significant ally for Russia in its war on Ukraine, with Russian forces using Belarusian territory for their 2022 invasion. Additionally, Russia announced plans to deploy tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus.
China has supported Russia diplomatically and economically since the Ukraine invasion, facing accusations from Western leaders of aiding Russia’s war efforts, which Beijing denies. The Belarusian Ministry of Defense reported the arrival of Chinese troops over the weekend, sharing images of Chinese military equipment being unloaded. Chinas Ministry of Defense outlined that the drills would include hostage rescue and counter-terrorism missions, aiming to enhance coordination and deepen military cooperation between the two nations.
Over the weekend, discussions between Chinese and Belarusian military officials in Minsk focused on military personnel training and new areas of cooperation. This display of security cooperation follows Belarus joining the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) recently, a move seen as aligning more closely with Beijing and Moscow against Western influence.
The entry of Belarus into the SCO, praised by Xi and Lukashenko, marks a shift towards the organization serving as a counterweight to Western institutions. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Belarusian counterpart Maksim Ryzhenkov reinforced their countries mutual support and opposition to unilateral global dominance, referring to the influence of the United States.
Disclaimer: This image is taken from Belarus Ministry of Defence.
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