Belarus' Lukashenko deploys joint force with Russia

Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko.
(Image credit: Maxim Guchek/Belta/AFP via Getty Images)

The authoritarian president of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, said on Monday he is forming a "joint regional group of troops" with Russia to head off "possible aggression against our country" by Ukraine and NATO.

"This won't be just 1,000 troops," Lukashenko said. His comments, reported by the state news agency Belta, are "stirring speculation that Belarus might send troops into Ukraine to help Russia's flailing military campaign," The New York Times' Andrew Higgins writes. Lukashenko has not yet sent Belarusian troops to Ukraine, which shares a border with Belarus, and told his military chiefs on Monday to "be ready to receive" the newly-drafted Russian soldiers who have been called up to go to Ukraine.

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