Belarus to kind 100,000-150,000 robust volunteer army power By Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Belarusian paratroopers carry out throughout celebrations marking the ninetieth anniversary of the airborne troops in Minsk, Belarus August 1, 2020. REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko

By Lidia Kelly

(Reuters) – Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko mentioned on Monday he had ordered the formation of a brand new volunteer territorial defence so everybody is aware of the best way to “deal with weapons” and be prepared to reply to an act of aggression and hold public order in peacetime.

“The scenario is just not straightforward. I’ve mentioned greater than as soon as: each man – and never solely a person – ought to be capable of at the very least deal with weapons,” Lukashenko mentioned on the assembly of his Safety Council.

“No less than as a way to shield his household, if wanted, his dwelling, his personal piece of land and – if essential – his nation.”

Lukashenko, who allowed Russia to make use of Belarus to ship troops into Ukraine a 12 months in the past, has usually mentioned his military would struggle provided that Belarus was attacked. He has additionally mentioned the “expertise” in Ukraine necessitates extra defence.

“In case of an act of aggression, the response shall be quick, harsh and applicable,” Lukashenko mentioned on Monday.

Defence Minister Viktor Khrenin mentioned the territorial defence power could have 100,000-150,000 volunteers, or extra if wanted. The paramilitary formation shall be ideally in each village and city.

The nation’s skilled military has about 48,000 troops and a few 12,000 state border troops, in line with the 2022 Worldwide Institute for Strategic Research’ Navy Stability.

A pariah within the West, Lukashenko, Europe’s longest-serving ruler who has led Belarus for 28 years, depends upon Russia politically and economically, and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s assist helped him survive mass pro-democracy protests in 2020.

The dependence has fanned fears in Kyiv that Putin would strain Lukashenko to hitch a recent floor offensive and open a brand new entrance in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“The weather of the Chilly Battle: arms race and nuclear blackmail by the leaders of particular person Western states have returned to the modern worldwide agenda,” Lukashenko mentioned on Monday.

The European Union, the USA and others have imposed billions of {dollars} value of sanctions on the ex-Soviet state over its assist for Russia’s struggle towards Ukraine.

On Monday, U.S. President Joe Biden made a shock go to to Kyiv to ship a message of “enduring assist” for Ukraine and announce additional army support for the military of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

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