Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko has ordered the State Secretary of the Security Council and the defence minister to respond to the deployment of the U.S. military to the Lithuanian training area in the vicinity of the Belarusian border.
This was made public by State Secretary of the Security Council of Belarus Stanislav Zas in an interview with Belarus 1 TV channel.
“This is one of the largest training ground in Lithuania. There have been no American troops in Lithuania up till now. There are some now. Tank units were the first ones to arrive,” Zas noted.
The official explained that Belarus cannot simply watch from the sidelines and will have to work out response measures. Such situations, he said, always become a subject of close attention.
“We don’t want that. It is up to Lithuania to decide whether it needs the additional tensions between our friendly nations,” he added.
Recall that a battalion of over 500 U.S. soldiers, dozens of tanks and heavy fighting vehicles will be based in Pabradė from October till spring 2020. The troops are being dispatched as part of the U.S. Army Europe Operation Atlantic Resolve aimed at ensuring deterrence against Russia.
The State Secretary also expressed concern with the forthcoming massive NATO exercise Defender Europe, which is supposed to take place in spring 2020. It will become one of the largest military exercises in the last 25 years. About 40,000 military personnel from 18 NATO member states will take part in it.
The exercise is expected to take place in ten European countries, including Belarus’ neighbours – Poland, Lithuania, and Latvia.
“It is obvious that the purpose of the exercises is to test the opposition to the imaginary threat from the East. How real is this threat? In our opinion, it is, of course, far-fetched,” said Zas.
The State Secretary of the Security Council said that the action plan to with an adequate response will be submitted to the head of state at the beginning of next week.