Ukraine says Russia-Belarus drills attempt to exert ‘psychological pressure’

Western nations concerned Moscow may use drills as ploy to invade Ukraine

Picture source - Reuters

Russia and Belarus have initiated joint military drills on Thursday, set to continue till February 20, in a move which Ukraine calls an attempt to exert “psychological pressure”.

Foreign media reports say that the exercises have put multiple Western countries on alert, raising fears that Kremlin was plotting a major conflict in Ukraine.

Moscow promised that it would withdraw its forces from Belarus once the exercises concluded.

Tensions between NATO, Russia and Ukraine have shown no indications of scaling down despite diplomatic activity kicking up this week.

According to France24, Britain on Thursday warned that the coming few days could be “the most dangerous moment” in the crisis that has spanned many months.

The exercises are expected to involve tens of thousands of troops, advanced weapons systems and other forces that have been accumulating in Belarus for weeks. In addition, Russian warships have been conducting naval drills off Ukraine’s southern coast.

Meanwhile, Ukraine has announced it has launched its own military exercises that would mirror those being carried out by Russia and Belarus. Military officials have maintained secrecy regarding the drills in an apparent fear of worsening tensions.

Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelenksy commented that Ukraine had “enough forces to honorably defend the country”.

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