Baltic states demand OSCE meeting with Belarus over military drill concerns

The Baltic states have made good on a promise to seek the intervention of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) following an inadequate response from Belarus about military drills taking place in that country.

As previously reported by LSM, Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania had jointly asked Belarus to provide details of the 'Union Resolve-2022' (Союзная решимость-2022 ) military exercises currently taking place on its territory. The request was made under Chapter 3 of the OSCE Vienna Document on Risk Reduction. This mechanism allows OSCE participating States to request information from other States on unusual, unplanned and significant activities of military forces outside their usual peacetime locations that are of security concern.

The Union Resolve-2022 exercise has not been announced in advance, but a large number of troops and military equipment from both Russia and Belarus are reportedly involved.

The Latvian Ministry of Defense said February 12 that, in response to its request, a reply was received from Belarus on February 11 but that "As it does not provide the required information on the exercise, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia are requesting an OSCE meeting with the delegation of Belarus to the OSCE, to take place within 48 hours in accordance with the Vienna Document paragraph 16.2, in order to discuss the matter."

"Belarus has not provided the requested information on the scope of military exercise, composition and strength of involved Belarusian and Russian military forces, major weapon equipment systems, as well as information on when the Russian Armed Forces plan to return to their peacetime locations in Russia," the Ministry said.

Belarus has stated that the military exercise does not involve more than 13,000 troops, which is the threshold for providing information within the Vienna Document. However, the Latvian Ministry of Defence said its information "clearly indicates that the Belarusian and Russian training exercises involve numbers of troops and military equipment that are significantly higher than this threshold."

 

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