Russia's Sukhoi Su-35S multi-purpose fighter aircraft are relocating to Belarus as part of the move to test the reaction forces of the Union State, Interfax reports with reference to the Russian Defense Ministry.
"The crews of the Su-35S multi-purpose fighters of the Eastern Military District, involved in the inspection of the reaction forces of the Union State, continue to relocate to Belarusian airfields," the Russian Defence Ministry said.
During the operation, the crews make intermediate landings at the airfields of Central and Western military districts to rest and prepare for the next flight.
As soon as Su-35S arrive at airfields of the Republic of Belarus, the crews will go on combat duty for air defense purposes as part of the process to test the functioning of the unified air defense system of the Union State of Russia and Belarus.
Russian paratroopers arrived in Belarus earlier on January 26. On January 21, Russian self-propelled artillery complexes, including 2S3 Akatsiya self-propelled artillery systems, arrived in the republic too. The same day, the Russian Ministry of Defense sent two divisions of S-400 Triumph anti-aircraft missile systems (SAM) from the Far East to Belarus for the exercises.
On January 23, another echelon with Russian military men and hardware arrived in the republic. No further details were provided.
The leaders of the two countries, Vladimir Putin and Alexander Lukashenko, announced joint military exercises between Russia and Belarus in late November of 2021. Putin then said that the drills would take place in February or March.
Alexander Lukashenko said that the upcoming inspection would take place against the backdrop of the aggravation of the military-political situation in the world and rising tensions in Europe, including at western and southern borders of Belarus. During the exercises, the military will practice scenarios of armed confrontation with Poland, the Baltic states and Ukraine.
A number of Western countries, including European countries and the United States, expressed their fears about the upcoming Russia-Belarus exercises. In particular, the head of the Lithuanian Defense Ministry, Arvydas Anusauskas, said that he was going to the NATO countries to protect the republic from the Russian troops. He is sure that the Russian troops, who arrived in Belarus for the exercises, destabilize security and pose a direct threat to Lithuania.
The US authorities believe that the upcoming joint exercises between Russia and Belarus could allegedly give Moscow an opportunity to attack Ukraine from the north.
The Ukrainian military, who left the territory of the besieged Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol, declared their desire to negotiate