Belarus, Crimea, eastern Europe, Freedom, independence, Kyiv, Moscow, Putin, Russia, Russia military exercises, Russian invasion, Russian military, Russian occupation, Russian troops, territorial integrity, Ukraine, Ukraine military chief of staff, Viktor Muzhenko, West 2017, Zapad 2017
If the original Russian troops left and new ones are rotated in does that count as having left troops in Belarus? That seems to be the linguistic loophole.
From RFERL: https://www.rferl.org/a/russia-denies-ukrainian-allegations-troops-still-belarus/28766949.html
“Russia Denies Ukrainian Allegations It Left Troops In Belarus
October 01, 2017 07:55 GMT RFE/RL’s Belarus Service
Russia has denied allegations from Ukraine that it left troops behind in Belarus after staging military exercises there, despite Moscow’s pledge not to do so.
“As far as the Russian troops which took part in the joint strategic exercises, Zapad (West) 2017, they all returned to their permanent bases,” Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said in an e-mailed statement late on September 30.
The denial came after Viktor Muzhenko, the Ukrainian military’s chief of staff, made the claim in a September 29 interview with Reuters that threatens to heighten tensions between Moscow and Kyiv, which have been locked in a standoff over Russia’s 2014 seizure of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula and its backing of separatists in eastern Ukraine.
The September 14-20 war games in Belarus and parts of western Russia triggered concerns in neighboring NATO nations already wary of Moscow’s intentions after its annexation of Crimea and military interference in eastern Ukraine.
Moscow and Minsk said the maneuvers involved some 12,700 troops in the two countries combined, but Western officials have said the true number may have been around 100,000.
Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka said on the final day of the exercises that all Russian troops involved in the drills would leave Belarus.
The Belarusian Defense Ministry has said that the last train of Russian troops who participated in the Zapad 2017 military drills left Belarus on September 28.
Copyright (c) 2017. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036 ” https://www.rferl.org/a/russia-denies-ukrainian-allegations-troops-still-belarus/28766949.html (Emphasis our own.)
What a bizarre comment by RFERL that the accusation would make things worse than they are! Russia, which has the largest land-area of any country, has taken part of the Ukraine and is chewing off more. Many have died. And, RFERL thinks that the Ukraine calling Russia out for possibly occupying Belarus is supposed to make things worse!? Are Trump’s beachheads at RFERL back at work?