Minsk started military exercises in three regions of Belarus near the border with Ukraine and Poland, and in the Minsk and Vitebsk regionsthe country’s defense ministry announced on Sept. 8.

The Belarus ministry said that the exercises, set to last until September 14, will practice “liberating territory temporarily seized by the enemy” and regaining control over border regions. The troops will also practice providing aviation support for troops, and fighting against illegal formations and sabotage groups.

The ministry emphasized that foreign observers from the military-diplomatic corps were invited to the active phase of the exercises. The ministry did not specify which countries these observers are from.

Earlier, Vadim Skibitsky of Ukraine’s Main Intelligence Directorate, said in an interview with news site RBC Ukraine that the territory of Belarus still poses a threat to Ukraine.

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“Today, this is primarily the threat of missile strikes. There is one division of the Iskander missile complex on the territory of Belarus which carries out missile launches, three divisions of C-400, C-300 systems,” Skibitsky said.

He noted that the main task of those air defense systems is to protect the airspace and when Tu–22 bombers enter  Belarus territory the C-400 provides cover for these bombers.

Their second purpose, according to Skibitsky, is to strike ground targets: They have missiles converted to ground-to-ground strikes.

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“Their accuracy is low, but they can cause damage to personnel, civilians. These missiles’ warheads contain approximately six thousand fragments. They fly apart and are a threat to any object in their path,” the representative of the Main Intelligence Directorate said.

According to another Ukrainian official, General Oleksiy Hromov of the General Staff of the Armed Forces, the Ukrainian army is prepared for any development, including from the north.

Nevertheless, civilian and military officials in Kyiv assured that the threat of Belarusian forces attacking Ukrainian territory remained low.

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