Russia to host Belarusian air force for military exercises

The Armed Forces of Belarus will today start military exercises at Russia’s Ashuluk military training base, located near the border

The Belarusian air force will join Russia in a military drill as the conflict in Ukraine rages on.

Photo: Leonid Scheglov/BelTA/Handout via Reuters

The Armed Forces of Belarus will today start military exercises at Russia’s Ashuluk military training base, located near the border with Kazakhstan.

The exercises are the second part of a two-phase drill, the first of which was held between August 9-11 in Belarus. The drill will involve military personnel, aviation vehicles and radio-technical units.

While Minsk has not directly taken part in the Ukraine invasion, it has supported the Russian effort, allowing forces to perform military drills on its territory and letting those forces use Belarus as a base both to enter to Ukraine and from which to shell Ukrainian cities. However, anti-war sentiment in Belarus is growing. Two weeks ago, the Belarusian opposition gathered in Lithuania to question the effectiveness of peaceful protesting against Belarusian President Lukashenko’s regime, reshuffling their cabinet to include several more militant figures.

While Lukashenko is unlikely to send troops into Ukraine, especially considering lack of support amongst the population, strong ties to Moscow mean he will continue aiding the Russian war effort. In the short-to-medium term, a more militant opposition increases risk of political violence in Minsk. If this occurs, Lukashenko will be able to continue relying on Russian support to uphold his regime.