Ukraine Begins Military Exercises in Reply to Maneuvers of Russia and Belarus

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Military exercises at a number of training grounds in Ukraine will be held on February 10-20, Defense Minister Olexii Reznikov said. At the same time, maneuvers of the Russian Federation and Belarus are conducted. As a reaction to the Russian-Belarusian military exercises Union Resolve–2022, which began on Thursday, February 10, Ukraine opens its maneuvers on the same day. Their holding was announced on February 8 by Defense Minister Olexii Reznikov on the ICTV channel. According to him, until February 20, the exercises will be held at the training grounds in Kovel, Ovruch, Shirokii Lan, Oleshky Sands, Chuhuiv, Chernihiv, Sumy and Odessa. “And these are only polygons. There are still separate sites, places where the Ukrainian armed forces will be trained,” Reznikov said. He also said that during the maneuvers, Bayraktar reconnaissance and strike unmanned systems and Javelin anti-tank missile systems, which were received by Kyiv from foreign partners, will be used. What number of Ukrainian servicemen participate in the exercises is not reported. Joint Russia and Belarus exercises The Russian-Belarusian military exercises Union Resolve-2022 are also held on February 10-20. In their course, the servicemen exercise “tasks to suppress and repel external aggression during a defensive operation, as well as countering terrorism and protecting the interests of the Union State,” the Russian Defense Ministry reported. Maneuvers are conducted in particular at the Belarusian ranges Domanovo, Gozha, Obuz-Lesnovsky, Brest and Asipovichi, as well as the airfields of Baranovichi, Luninets, Lida and Machulishchi. The number of participants in the exercises was not called. The exercises Union Resolve-2022 are taking place against the background of the escalated conflict around Ukraine. Their conduct was criticized, among others, by the United States, which considers such actions leading to further escalation. In the second half of 2021 and the beginning of 2022, the Russian Federation transferred more than 100,000 troops to the annexed Crimea and to the border with Ukraine. The West fears that Moscow is preparing to invade a neighboring country, but the Kremlin denies plans for such an operation. The January series of negotiations between Russia and the United States, NATO and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe did not bring results. The West calls on Moscow to withdraw troops from the Ukrainian border and threatens unprecedented sanctions. Russia accuses Western countries of arming Ukraine and conducting maneuvers near the borders of the Russian Federation. DW