Russia begins drills in Belarus, draws ominous warning from Nato

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MOSCOW: Russia rolled its tanks across Belarus on Thursday for live- fire drills that drew an portentous warning from Nato and added urgency to Western sweats to forestall a feared irruption of Ukraine.

Nato said Russia’s deployment of dumdums, heavy armour and machine- gun carrying dogfaces marked a “ dangerous moment” for Europe some three decades after the Soviet Union’s collapse.
The war games — set to run until February 20 — followed a gradational Russian military buildup around Ukraine that some US estimates say has reached dogfaces grouped in dozens of combat armies.

Western leaders have been shuttling to Moscow in an trouble to keep the lines of communication open, giving Russia a chance to state its grievances about Nato’s expansion into eastern Europe andex-Soviet countries.

British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss took a tough communication to Moscow on Thursday, criminating Russia of espousing a “ hanging posture” and prompting the Kremlin to withdraw its forces to prove it had no plans to mount an attack.

Kiev denounced the war games as “ cerebral pressure” while French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian called the exercises “ a veritably violent gesture”. Russia has also transferred six warship through the Bosphorus for nonmilitary drills on the Black Sea and the neighbouring Ocean of Azov.

Read More: US deploys troops to support Nato in Ukraine standoff

Kiev condemned their presence as an “ unknown” attempt to cut off Ukraine from both swell. Moscow and Minsk haven’t bared how numerous colors are sharing, but the United States has said around dogfaces were being dispatched to Belarus from locales including Russia’s Far East.

Russia’s defence ministry said the exercises would centre around “ suppressing and repelling external aggression”. The Kremlin has claimed that the colors will go home after the exercises.

But Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky said “ the accumulation of forces at the border is cerebral pressure from our neighbours”.

Kiev has launched its own military drills anticipated to image Russia’s games, but officers have said little about them out of apparent fear of raising pressures.

“ All the (Russian) talk about some fabulous trouble from Nato or Ukraine is gibberish,” Ukrainian Foreign Minster Dmytro Kuleba said.

Russia is trying to secure written guarantees that Nato will withdraw its presence from eastern Europe and noway expand into Ukraine. The United States and Nato have officially rejected Russia’s demands.

Read More: Nato and Russia lay out stark differences on Ukraine crisis

But Washington has floated the idea of the sides striking a new demilitarization agreement for Europe — an offer viewed as useful but dramatically inadequate by Moscow. Truss was the rearmost Western diplomat to travel to Moscow, where she reported entering pledges from her Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov that the Kremlin had no plans to foray Ukraine. “ We need to see those words followed up by conduct,” she told journalists after the addresses. But Lavrov said he was “ disappointed” by the addresses.

He said the drills in Belarus as well as the movement of colors across Russia’s own home had prodded “ incomprehensible alarm and relatively strong feelings from our British counterparts and other Western representatives”.

Moscow’s chilly relations with London nearly ruptured after the 2018 poisoning of former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his son in England, which the UK criticized on the Kremlin.

Truss’s trip came just days after French President Emmanuel Macron conducted a round of shuttle tactfulness between Moscow and Kiev, and also briefed German Chancellor Olaf Scholz about his progress in Berlin.

The German chancellor will travel to Kiev and Moscow coming week for separate meetings with the Ukrainian and Russian leaders — including his first in-person meeting with Putin.

His position on the new Nord Stream 2 natural gas channel from Russia to Germany will be under particularly close scrutiny in both centrals.

Scholz has been largely fugitive about US President Joe Biden’s pledge during addresses with the German leader that Washington would “ bring an end” to the energy link should Russia foray Ukraine.

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