NUR-SULTAN, September 16. /TASS/. The Unbreakable Brotherhood drills that the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) plans to hold in Belarus in October are not linked to the domestic situation in the country, Kazakh Defense Ministry Spokesman Gani Nusipov told TASS on Wednesday.
"The Unbreakable Brotherhood drills involving the CSTO Collective Peacekeeping Forces have been taking place annually since 2012. The drills will be held in Belarus in 2020 in accordance with the 2025 list of activities aimed at training the command units and forces of the CSTO collective security system, which was approved by the CSTO Council of Defense Ministers and the Committee of Security Council Secretaries on November 8, 2018," he pointed out, adding: "The drills have nothing to do with the domestic political situation in Belarus."
The Russian Defense Ministry announced on Tuesday that six CSTO countries would coordinate issues related to the preparations for and holding of peacekeeping operations during the Unbreakable Brotherhood drills set to take place at the Losvido range in Belarus on October 12-16. According to the ministry, the drills will involve Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.
Situation in Belarus
Nationwide demonstrations have engulfed Belarus following the August 9 presidential election. According to the Central Election Commission’s official results, incumbent President Alexander Lukashenko won by a landslide, garnering 80.10% of the vote. His closest rival in the race, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, came in second, with 10.12% of the ballot. However, she refused to recognize the election’s outcome, and left Belarus for Lithuania. After the results of the exit polls were announced late on August 9, mass protests erupted in downtown Minsk and other Belarusian cities. During the early post-election period, the rallies snowballed into fierce clashes between the protesters and police. The current unrest is being cheered on by the opposition’s Coordination Council, which has been beating the drum for more protests. In response, the Belarusian authorities have castigated the ongoing turmoil and demanded that these unauthorized demonstrations be stopped.