Bringing Russian troops to Belarus contradicts the Constitution of Belarus setting the country’s neutral status.
On September 9, Russian echelons arrive in Belarus to take part in Zapad-2009 strategic exercises. The Belarusian land has never met such amount of Russian soldiers – 6000 out of 12500 participants of the training are the Russians.
“The preparation for Zapad-2009 strategic military exercises is at the final stage. The Russian military forces and units are ready for dislocation on the territory of Belarus,” Interfax learnt from the head of the Belarusian Ministry of Defence’s press service Colonel Vyachaslau Ramenchyk.
Ramenchyk explained Russia will be represented by military command bodies and a range of military units of the 20th army, operative groups of the Air Forces High Command, Command of the transport aviation and airborne forces, units of the 98th airborne division.
As it was reported earlier, Zapad-2009 exercises will take place in Belarus on September 18–29, 2009. The training involves 12500 people, among then about 2000 will be drafted through military enlistment offices.
It is planned to engage more than 220 battle tanks, about 470 armoured combat vehicles, 230 towed and self-propelled artillery pieces, mortar guns, multiple artillery rocket systems, 60 aircrafts, and 40 helicopters.
“Combat operations” are to take place the 230th combined-arms training range of the Western Operative Command (Obuz-Lesnouski), the 227th combined-arms training range of army forces (Barysauski), the 174th training base of the airborne forces and air defence forces “Damanava”, the 210th aviation base Ruzhany, and training ranges of the 38th (Brest) and 6th mobile brigades and the air ground of the 206th air assault air base. Besides, the exercise will be carried out on ground to deploy mobile operations control centres.
It should be noted that carrying out such large-scale military operations involving foreign militarists contradicts the Constitution of Belarus.
Article 18 of the Constitution of Belarus says: “In its foreign policy the Republic of Belarus shall proceed from the principles of the equality of states, the non-use of force or the threat of force, the inviolability of frontiers, the peaceful settlement of disputes, non-interference in internal affairs of states and other universally acknowledged principles and standards of international law.
The Republic of Belarus pledges itself to make its territory a neutral, nuclear-free state.”
“The Constitution says Belarus is a neutral state. Neutral states can’t join any military organizations and carry out military exercises on the territory if foreign armies take part in them,” leader of the United Civil Party Anatol Lyabedzka said.
“This is beyond the legal scope of the Constitution. If the Constitutional Court of Belarus was independent, it should turn its attention to this violation,” the politician noted.
Stanislau Shushkevich, the former head of the Supreme Council of Belarus and leader of the Belarusian Social Democratic Hramada, commented the forthcoming exercises to www.charter97.org:
“The Zapad-2009 military exercises don’t undoubtedly comply with the Constitution of Belarus. It is clear for every sober-minded person. The Constitution declares an intention to neutrality. Nobody attacks or threaten us. These exercises are only a concession to Russia that aims at forming the Collective Rapid Response Forces under its command and wants to demonstrate it can manage the territory of Belarus as it were its own territory. So, Russian influence upon Belarus is growing. Under Lukashenka, threat to Belarus is constantly growing,” the politician noted.
We remind that Alyaksandr Lukashenka told at the talks on August 27 that Dmitry Medvedev would visit Belarus in September to see the joint Belarusian-Russian military exercises, “the most large-scale in spite of the crisis”.
“This is a Belarusian-Russian western grouping mainly consisting of the Belarusian army. The exercises will focus on operation of this grouping: how effective it is, how it can defend our western borders,” Lukashenka said.
Lukashenka also said he was ready to head the CSTO and join the Collective Rapid Response Forces (CRRF).
What to the CRRF, it is widely discussed today that Belarus and Uzbekistan are against the collective forces. But I reminded the president of Russia that the Russians and we had initiated this issue. Our experts took active part in working out issues on the Collective Rapid Response Forces. So, Belarus can’t but adopt this document,” Lukashenka said.