China and Belarus hold military drills near Polish border

China and Belarus hold military drills near Polish border China and Belarus hold military drills near Polish border

Chinese troops were on patrol just three miles from NATO territory last night as they staged a landmark exercise in Belarus.

The manoeuvres, seemingly timed to coincide with the 76th anniversary NATO summit, offered a disturbing indication of Beijing's affiliations.

In the face of international condemnation, China has continued to back Russia's occupation of Ukraine by providing parts and technologies used to make missiles, tanks and aircraft.

Now it has sent elite troops to Russia's neighbour and ally in the conflict in Ukraine, Belarus.

It came hours after a Russian missile strike on the Ohmatdyt Children's Hospital which killed two adults.

Joint-drills involving Chinese and Belarussian soldiers – codenamed Exercise Falcon Assault – are taking place near the city of Brest which lies on the border with Poland.

Major General Vadim Denisenko, chief of Belarusian special operations command, said the exercise was being staged in response to 'alarming events taking place in the world'.

He added: 'The situation is uneasy. Therefore we are going to practise new forms and methods of performing tactical tasks.'

This is the first time Chinese troops have conducted operational rehearsals in Belarus since Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

The timing of the exercise adds to its significance, as it coincides with the leaders of NATO's 32 member states convening in Washington D.C.

The presence of Chinese soldiers so close to NATO soil also comes as North Korean troops are expected to arrive in Russian-occupied eastern Ukraine.

Their anticipated deployment is part of mutual security arrangement agreed by Vladimir Putin and Kim Jung-Un.

More than 100 Chinese troops, from the People's Liberation Army Northern Command, are expected to remain in Belarus until July 19th.

They will practice night landings and overcoming water barriers with their hosts. The Belarussian defence ministry published photographs of their arrival on Telegram.

The soldiers, carrying a huge Chinese flag, were seen disembarking from their aircraft and marching around an airfield.

The Chinese defence ministry said: 'The joint training aims to enhance the coordination capabilities of the participating troops, and deepen practical cooperation between the two armies.

The statement suggested the countries could conduct further drills together and step up their support for Russia's occupation of Ukraine.

The precise location of the exercise may be a response by China and Belarus to Poland stepping up security on its side of the border. Brest is also only 30 miles from the Belarus-Ukraine border.

State media in Belarus has also broadcast warnings that Ukraine is poised to launch attacks against the country.

Former Belarusian diplomat Pavel Slunkin said: 'They have undertaken training [with China] before but I don't recall any similar joint exercises in Belarus on this scale.'

While Martin Sebena, an academic at the University of Hong Kong who specialises in China-Europe relations, told the South China Morning Post: 'The exercise will overlap the NATO summit and take place on the border where Belarus has 'weaponised' migrant flows to pressure Poland, the European Union and NATO.'

Publicly, China continues to insist it is neutral on the Russia-Ukraie conflict and has denied supplying arms. But it has ramped up exports of vital parts used in Russia's military factories.

It has also used the conflict to deepen ties with Russia's allies such as Belarus and Hungary.

Hungary's President Viktor Orban will attend the NATO summit having just met President Xi in Beijing and Vladimir Putin in Moscow. Despite Hungary belonging to the Western defence alliance, the country also signed a security pact with China earlier this year.

Orban has also backed President Xi's stance on the conflict. He is also expected to tell NATO leaders that President Putin is ready to hold peace talks.

In a letter Orban wrote to other European Union leaders, which was leaked to a Ukrainian newspaper earlier this week, he said 'time was running out' to achieve peace due to the 'escalation of hostilities'.

He said: 'If we cannot stop this process then in the next two months we will witness more dramatic losses. That is why [Putin] was surprised the Ukrainian president rejected a temporary ceasefire proposal.'

Orban has also said that 'Putin cannot lose', given the numbers of troops and weaponry he can use in the conflict.

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  • https://www.msn.com/en-my/news/other/china-and-belarus-hold-military-drills-near-polish-border/ar-BB1pHeyI?ocid=00000000

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