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Over 130 NATO planes based near Belarusian border, says commander

"Aerial reconnaissance is conducted against Belarus, on average, 4-5 reconnaissance flights are registered daily," Alexander Naumenko said

MINSK, March 26. /TASS/. Western countries conduct active aerial reconnaissance against Belarus and over 130 NATO planes are based near the republic’s border, Commander of the Belarusian North-Western Operational Command Alexander Naumenko said on Tuesday.

"Aerial reconnaissance is also conducted against Belarus. On average, 4-5 reconnaissance flights are registered daily. Presently, 132 combat planes from NATO’s air group are based in the northwestern direction," the state-run BelTA news agency quoted the commander as saying.

Belarusian Defense Minister Viktor Khrenin said in late February that the republic’s armed forces daily registered from five to nine flights by reconnaissance planes from Western countries near the Belarusian borders and space reconnaissance was used actively against Belarus. The minister said that intensified reconnaissance was an indicator that the West "wants to plan something" against Belarus.

Minsk also sees the active movement of troops and military hardware in neighboring countries as part of drills planned and held by NATO states and their allies. The Belarusian defense minister said that "strike groups can be created under the guise of drills." He stressed that Minsk observed "a set of measures that Western Europe led by the United States is carrying out in advance to prepare for military actions."

The Belarusian defense chief informed that over 60,000 US troops were amassed in Europe while 18 battalion tactical groups from NATO member states numbering over 32,000 personnel were stationed in neighboring countries, in particular, in Poland and the Baltic states.