Belarus’ Lukashenko Teases Moscow, Holds a Joint Military Drill With NATO UK
Just a tiny one for now, for the sanctioned "Outpost of Tyranny"
On Sunday, Belarus and the United Kingdom started joint military drills, the Belarusian Defense Ministry reports.
Belarusian peacekeeping forces and a unit of British Royal Marines will be training together for two weeks. The exercise is aimed at preparing a peacekeeping company of the 103rd Vitsebsk separate airborne brigade for participating in United Nations peacekeeping activities.
British military personnel started arriving in Belarus on February, 29; the greater part of a Royal Marines unit arrived on March, 1. According to the British MoD, thirty members of 42 Commando will conduct cold weather training on the two-week exercise.
“Exercise Winter Partisan, which lasts until 14th March, will see the Green Berets from Devon train in integrated teams with members of the Belarusian Armed Forces, sharing experience and expertise. Troops will train in winter survival skills such as camouflage and winter movement skills including abseiling and skiing, before putting them to the test in an exercise setting,” the press service of the UK government reports.
Belarus has a company of peacekeepers; 100 soldiers were trained abroad and ‘they are ready to serve ‘in every region of the world’, the then Defense Minister Andrey Raukou said in 2018.
As well as the military training, troops will engage in cultural activities looking at the two countries’ shared history – particularly both nations’ contribution in World War II in what is the 75th Anniversary year of VE Day. The Royal Marines will visit a World War II Museum in Minsk and participate in a Remembrance event.
So it’s not exactly the Ukraine situation, Minsk will still justify it as wanting to act as a “bridge” between the West and Russia, albeit the timing of it during a subsidies dispute calls that into question.