Belarus for big war games

An operational tactical exercise, the Berezina 2002, will be held in the Belarussian northwest toward May's end into early June. The joint exercise will bring together troops under the Defence and Interior Ministries, the State Borderguard Committee, and the Ministry for Emergency Relief, President Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus announced to a conference on exercise preparations. Local executive and managerial bodies will be involved in the Berezina to train territorial defence organisation, he added. Mr. Lukashenko pointed out dynamic geopolitical developments giving rise to ever more problems. It takes updated arrangements for national defence and interest protection to meet those challenges, he said. The President enumerated influences on the current political situation--in particular, "military and forceful action by certain countries or military alliances violating international legal norms, and the use of information means and technologies for aggressive purposes by certain participants in foreign relations". All that threatens to produce hotbeds of tensions, and the Belarussian Armed Forces have to be ready for warfare of whatever scale and character, he stressed.

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