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Belarus concerned over NATO’s growing presence near its borders — defense minister

June 17, 2015, 10:27 UTC+3 MINSK

The Alliance is gradually concentrating additional military contingents equipped with heavy weaponry near the Belarusian borders

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MINSK, June 17. /TASS/. Belarus is concerned with NATO’s deployment of additional military contingents near its borders, including those equipped with heavy weaponry, the Belarusian Defense Minister Gen. Lt. Andrey Ravkov said on Wednesday.

"Along with strengthening the aviation component of NATO member-countries in the Baltics States and Poland that perform the functions of hoarding the airspace, the Alliance is gradually concentrating additional military contingents equipped with heavy weaponry near the Belarusian borders," Ravkov said.

The defense minister noted that "the end of 2014 was marked by increasing military activity of neighboring countries, intensifying activities of operational and combat training." "Regardless of geopolitical prerequisites for such decisions made by our foreign partners, Belarus cannot ignore changes in the military-political situation in the region, that bear additional risks, challenges and threats to the country’s military security," Ravkov added.

He stressed that the Belarusian leadership took into consideration those aspects when developing the Plan of Preparation for the Armed Forces in 2014-2015, and it is "practically reflected in carrying out activities of operational and combat training planned for this year."

Belarus proceeds from the disposition that "no country is currently seen as a potential enemy," Ravkov said. However, "every country has the right to protect its independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity," he noted. "Trained armed forces are needed for that, and we treat with understanding the training activities of the armed forces of other countries," the defense minister continued. "We also want our neighbors to demonstrate similar understanding," he concluded.

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko on tuesday said the global situation is not getting calmer, and NATO’s activities in the vicinity of Belarusian and Russian borders are alarming. 

"They are demonstrating their activities constantly and candidly," Lukashenko stressed. "These activities cannot but be disturbing for us," the Belarusian leader added.

According to him, Belarus understands the propaganda aspect behind NATO’s activities. "It is necessary to keep one’s powder dry. We have always said that," Lukashenko went on to say.

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