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Ukraine conflict: US Concerned About Russian Troop Deployments To Belarus

The US government has announced that Russia has transferred soldiers to Ukraine's neighboring country. Complicity by the regime there in an attack is "unacceptable".

The US government has expressed concern that Russia transferred Russian soldiers to Belarus over the weekend. "The timing is remarkable and of course it raises concerns that Russia may intend to deploy troops in Belarus under the guise of joint maneuvers with a view to possibly attacking Ukraine from the north," said a senior US official.

The number of Russian soldiers is above the number that would be expected in a "normal military exercise". She stressed that Belarusian ruler Alexander Lukashenko's "complicity" in such an attack would be "completely unacceptable".

Lukashenko is leaning more and more on Russia, the US ministry official said. "And we know he doesn't get that support for free."

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The Belarusian Defense Ministry had announced joint maneuvers with Russia for February. It published photos showing Russian tanks and military trucks on railroad cars. Belarus is a close ally of Russia.

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The US diplomat also said a constitutional amendment pushed by ruler Alexander Lukashenko suggests the country could allow Russia to station conventional and nuclear weapons on its territory. This would be a "challenge to European security that may call for an answer," she said.

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Russia had already stationed tens of thousands of soldiers on its own border with Ukraine in recent months. That is why the West fears that Russia is preparing to invade the neighboring country. The government in Moscow denies this.

Of course, Russia is preparing to invade Ukraine. Otherwise it would not be able to create a credible threat. After the unsatisfactory results of the last diplomatic round, Russia is increasing the pressure on the West, allowing a new flank. The military situation for the Ukraine would be even more unfavorable in this way; Kiev would quickly be surrounded.

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Nor should one expect Russia to relieve the pressure until a satisfactory solution has been found. Withdrawing without accomplishing anything is out of the question for Russia, I think. They have already gone too far for that. So Russia is obviously serious.

And the West is on the defensive. And not just since yesterday. I think Syria was a crucial signal for Russia - but also the West's reaction to the occupation of Crimea. The withdrawal (rather the flight) from Afghanistan has recently been added to this. The West does not give the impression of wanting (or being able) to fight. Equipping deputies on the ground and airstrikes, that's pretty much the maximum of readiness. And that didn't work against the backward military. Russia would be a completely different caliber.

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