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Belarus-China Launch Joint Military Exercises Near Poland Border

On Monday, Belarus and China has commenced 11-day joint military training exercises, according to Belarus’ defense ministry. The exercises, named as “Attacking Falcon,” are taking place near the city of Brest, close to the Polish border, a NATO and European Union member state. Major General Vadim Denisenko of the Belarusian military announced on Telegram that […]

Belarus-China Launch Joint Military Exercises Near Poland Border
Belarus-China Launch Joint Military Exercises Near Poland Border

On Monday, Belarus and China has commenced 11-day joint military training exercises, according to Belarus’ defense ministry. The exercises, named as “Attacking Falcon,” are taking place near the city of Brest, close to the Polish border, a NATO and European Union member state.

Major General Vadim Denisenko of the Belarusian military announced on Telegram that the joint anti-terrorist training will involve military personnel from both nations acting together as a single unit in various stages. He emphasized the complexity of current global events and the importance of learning new warfare methods. “Here we will work out all these moments considering all that is new that has been learned in the past two years,” Denisenko stated.

The training ground’s proximity to both the Polish and Ukrainian borders adds to the geopolitical tension. The exercises occur amidst Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine, which has heightened regional security concerns. Additionally, Belarus and China have strengthened their ties in recent years under the leadership of Chinese President Xi Jinping and Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, both of whom are close allies of Russia’s Vladimir Putin.

The start of the “Attacking Falcon” exercises coincided with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s visit to Warsaw, where he signed a security agreement with Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk. It also began on the eve of NATO’s 75th anniversary summit in Washington, a gathering aimed at bolstering support for Ukraine over two years since Russia’s invasion.

NATO and the EU have long accused Belarus of using its border to push asylum-seekers into neighboring countries, viewing it as a provocative tactic. The joint military exercises are likely to be seen as further provocation. NATO has yet to comment on the drills.

Belarus has played a crucial role as a Russian ally in the war against Ukraine. Moscow used Belarus as a launching pad for its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, following joint military exercises that amassed troops on the Ukrainian border. Last year, Putin announced plans to place tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus.

China has emerged as a significant diplomatic and economic supporter of Russia since the invasion, despite accusations from Western leaders that Beijing has been aiding Moscow’s war effort through the provision of dual-use goods—a charge Beijing denies.

Belarus’ Ministry of Defense reported that troops from China’s People’s Liberation Army arrived in Belarus over the weekend. Photographs were released showing Chinese troops unloading equipment from a military cargo aircraft. The drills, set to last until July 19, will include “hostage rescue operations and counter-terrorism missions,” according to China’s Ministry of Defense. The aim is to enhance training levels and coordination capabilities while deepening practical cooperation between the two countries’ armies.

Over the weekend, delegations from China’s Central Military Commission held talks with counterparts in Minsk, discussing prospects for Belarusian-Chinese military personnel training and outlining new areas of cooperation.

This display of security cooperation follows Belarus’ recent entry into the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), backed by Beijing and Moscow. Founded in 2001 to combat terrorism and promote border security, the SCO has expanded under Chinese and Russian leadership to become a counterweight to Western institutions.

Belarus’ inclusion in the SCO was praised by both Xi and Lukashenko during a meeting at an SCO summit in Kazakhstan last week. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and his newly appointed Belarusian counterpart Maksim Ryzhenkov met in Beijing on Monday, reaffirming their mutual support on key issues and rejecting what they termed “unilateral hegemony,” a reference to their shared opposition to a U.S.-dominated world order.

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