Belarus Launches Border Drills Amidst Tensions with NATO Neighbors

Belarus has initiated military drills near its borders with Poland and Lithuania— both NATO members, amidst escalating tensions stemming from Russia-affiliated Wagner mercenaries’ move to Belarus after a brief rebellion in Russia.

This shift to Belarus happened after a deal in late June that terminated the mercenaries’ armed rebellion and permitted their leader, Yevgeny Prigozhin, to dodge legal repercussions. In response, Poland and Lithuania ramped up their border security. The two NATO countries are situated in a sensitive region, sharing their borders with both Belarus and the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad. Concerns peaked when two Belarusian helicopters allegedly entered Polish airspace at a low altitude in early August— an incident Belarus refuted.

The Belarusian defense ministry revealed that these recent drills draw inspiration from Russia’s war techniques in Ukraine, such as drone utilization and synchronized operations between varied military units. These military exercises are centered around the Grodno region in Belarus, a 96km-long strip called the Suwalki Gap that has geopolitical significance as it connects NATO countries Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia with other NATO members and keeps Belarus separate from Kaliningrad—a Russian territory on the Baltic Sea with no direct land linkage to Russia.

The Suwalki Gap has been flagged by western military analysts as a possible focal point in a hypothetical Russia-NATO faceoff, prompting concerns of Russia potentially attempting to control this stretch, consequently isolating the three Baltic nations from Poland and the broader NATO network.

Belarus’s defense force acknowledges the utilization of Russian mercenaries for training their military, following reports of increasing numbers of Wagner mercenaries entering Belarus.

Information for this briefing was found via the Associated Press and the sources mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to this organization. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.

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