Foreign PolicyForeign Policy

Western Officials Warn Russia’s Troops in Belarus Could Be Permanent

By Robbie Gramer, Amy Mackinnon

08 Feb 2022 · 5 min read

Russia is amassing new military forces in neighboring Belarus, purportedly for joint military drills, as the specter of a full-scale invasion of Ukraine hangs over Europe. But top European officials warn that Moscow is unlikely to remove its troops from Belarus once they are stationed there, posing a new threat to NATO’s eastern flank even if Russia doesn’t carry out an invasion of Ukraine.

“The military buildup in Belarus seems to be something more permanent, unfortunately, and it’s a great concern of ours,” Polish Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau told Foreign Policy in an interview during his recent visit to Washington.

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