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Ukraine is vowing Wednesday that it’s “ready” after its northern neighbor Belarus – which Russia used as a springboard for its invasion – announced military exercises to assess the combat readiness of their armed forces.
The Belarusian Defense Ministry said the exercises that began Wednesday would also be used to assess their military’s ability to operate on “unknown terrain in a rapidly changing situation.”
“We do not rule out that the Russian Federation could at some point use the territory of Belarus, the Armed Forces of the Republic of Belarus, against Ukraine,” said Andriy Demchenko, spokesperson for Ukraine’s State Border Service, according to Reuters.
“Therefore, we are ready,” he vowed, reportedly adding that Ukraine has strengthened its border with Belarus since the invasion began on Feb. 24.
Russia held joint military exercises with Belarus prior to its ongoing war in Ukraine.
Belarusian officials did not say how many troops are involved in the exercises but noted that their number would be gradually increased.
It claimed the maneuvers “do not threaten the European community in general and any neighboring countries in particular.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.