Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko on Friday vowed that war would result if either his country or Russia were attacked, while noting that Belarus did not want to engage in conflict.
Lukashenko, an ally to Russian President Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinYes, the US can legally intervene if Russia invades Ukraine Russia-Ukraine conflict threatens US prestige China warns US to ‘stop interfering’ in Olympics MOREmade those comments to officials and lawmakers in a speech amid escalating tensions between Russia and the West, Reuters reported.
Russian troops and equipment have already started to arrive in Belarus, as the two are scheduled to participate in military exercises together between February 10 and February 20.
More than 100,000 Russian troops have already been amassed at the Ukrainian border, and the joint exercises taking place next month in Belarus, a country that borders Ukraine to the north, only amplify the military presence near the former Soviet republic.
The international community remains concerned that Russia is readying itself for an invasion into Ukraine, though Russia denies such intent.
President BidenJoe BidenCourt nixes offshore drilling leases auctioned by Biden administration Laquan McDonald’s family pushes for federal charges against officer ahead of early release Biden speaks with Ukrainian president amid Russian threat MORE on Friday said he anticipated moving US troops to Eastern Europe “in the near term,” adding “not too many.”
Meanwhile, US officials on Friday called on Russia to seek diplomacy and “stand down” on Ukraine.
“We strongly encourage Russia to stand down and pursue a resolution through diplomacy,” Gen. Mark MilleyMark MilleyBiden’s first year: A mirage of gender parity Defense & National Security – Pentagon puts 8,500 troops on high alert Special Operations Command’s top general tests positive for COVID-19 MORE, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said before reporters. “Armed force should always be the last resort. Success here is through dialogue. ”
“There’s no reason that this situation has to devolve into conflict,” Defense Lloyd AustinLloyd AustinPentagon chief orders closer focus on preventing civilian deaths in airstrikes Overnight Defense & National Security – Inside Austin’s civilian harm directive Pentagon pauses civilian vaccine mandate after federal court ruling MORE said. “[Putin] He can choose to deescalate, he can order his troops away. He can choose dialogue and diplomacy. ”