These exercises are set to take place in a tense political context in Belarus, marked by daily protests for a month now, following the August 9th presidential election.
Belarus’ President Alexander Lukashenko, who has been in power for 26 years, is under pressure to resign. He is accused of remaining in power through fraud.
According to RIA Novosti, Belarus is to host anti-terrorist tactical exercises called the “Slavic Brotherhood-2020”.
These joint entanglements raise many questions, especially since, amid protests, Lukashenko has alerted his army and raised his voice against NATO. Russian President Vladimir Putin has also declared his willingness to intervene militarily in Belarus. A Putin-Lukashenko meeting is set to take place in Moscow this week.
In a comment on Lukashenko’s visit to Moscow, Lithuania’s foreign minister warns that the Belarusian president could cede his country’s independence by signing an agreement “on deeper integration” with Russia.
Putin has previously put pressure on Lukashenko for “deeper integration”. The Minsk leader rejected the request, but could give way in the current context.