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Japan’s foreign minister vows to send “strong message” after meeting with NATO chief

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Russia and Belarus are conducting a more week of joint army drills, the Belarusian Defense Ministry stated on Tuesday, the most current signal of cooperation among the neighboring allies amid Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

“For the duration of the 7 days, military representatives from the two international locations will follow joint preparing of the use of troops dependent on the prior knowledge of armed conflicts in new several years,” the ministry stated in a statement.

The ministry said the aim of the education is to boost the compatibility of the two militaries and is portion of planning for the joint Union Defend 2023 physical exercises the two international locations will keep in Russia in September.

The announcement of the new drills comes as Russian and Belarussian aviation battle models carry on to perform teaching missions for the duration of joint flight and tactical workouts of the air forces of the two countries.

The routines are staying held at the Ruzhansky education grounds in Belarus about 150 kilometers (93 miles) north of the Ukrainian border.

In the meantime, Russian President Vladimir Putin has backed a plan to established up joint military instruction centers with Belarus, in accordance to Agence France-Presse.

In a decree released Tuesday, Putin tasked the defense and foreign ministers to carry out talks with Belarus and sign an arrangement to create the amenities, AFP described.

The doc did not specify exactly where they would be centered.

Some context: An announcement by Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko in Oct that his country and Russia would variety a joint regional power and carry out workout routines set off alarm bells in Kyiv.

The previous time Belarus and Russia forces held joint routines, in February previous calendar year, lots of of these Russian forces went on to cross the Ukrainian border in their unwell-fated generate in the direction of the funds.

But Western officials speaking to media on track record this week have expressed question that Russia could launch an offensive from Belarus in the coming months. 

The Russian troops’ presence would, however, prompt Ukraine into stationing its troops in that path to “offset that prospective danger,” the officials mentioned, even even though they stressed it is “vastly not likely” that Belarus “will be an axis of progress in the next numerous months.”

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