Russia has deployed additional armed vehicles and soldiers to its border with Belarus amid an unprecedented escalation of tensions between Moscow and neighboring Minsk.
On Wednesday, the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation has reported that over 3,000 troops and more than 800 items of armament and military hardware, including main battle tanks, will deploy to military training grounds along the border with Belarus.
“Over 3,000 personnel of the guards combined arms army of the Western Military District and about 800 military vehicles and special equipment involved in exercises at training grounds in the Voronezh, Moscow, Bryansk, Belgorod, Smolensk and Kursk regions,” according to a recent service news release.
At the same time, Belarus kick off military exercises near the Russian border. The Belarus military is deploying additional troops to the border with Russia in the Vitebsk region.
Official Minsk fears that Russia may take advantage of the instability in the country and carry out the Ukrainian scenario to occupy part of the territories ahead of August’s presidential election.
Alexander Lukashenko, the country’s president for the past 25 years, has publicly accused Russia and the west of seeking to interfere in the country’s elections. He claimed last week that Russian mercenaries could be sent to the country to organize a “Maidan”, a reference to the 2014 Ukrainian revolution that overthrew the then president, Viktor Yanukovych.