RIGA - The snap military exercises being organized by Belarus are not so great in scale, but Ukraine will have to react to them in order not to create a risk that could be used by the enemy, the former commander of the Latvian Land Forces, retired Colonel Igors Rajevs, told LETA.
He explained that this was not large-scale military exercise, as it only involves the 465th Missile Brigade Division of the Belarusian Armed Forces.
Asked how the exercise would relate to Ukraine's security, the retired colonel explained that Ukraine would have to monitor the area more closely and either tighten some of the forces in the west of Ukraine or change the tasks of those forces.
Ukraine cannot ignore such moves by Belarus to avoid the risk of a weak link being exploited by the adversary. Consequently, nearby Ukrainian soldiers will have to be ready to respond to possible threats from Belarus if necessary, Rajevs explained.
Ukraine could decide to deploy some air defense systems in the vicinity of the area so that they would be ready to shoot down missiles if they were fired from Belarus, the former commander of the Latvian Land Forces explained.
Rajevs also believes that in the context of the exercises, no massive attack on Ukraine is expected from Belarus.
Such precautionary measures on the part of Ukraine should not significantly affect Ukraine's ability to resist Russia's attack in the east of the country, as the forces already in the west of Ukraine would be used to respond to the military exercises in Belarus, the expert said.
The military expert confirmed that the exercises in Belarus are being coordinated in some way with the Russian army.
The AFP news agency reports that Belarus, a Moscow ally that shares a border with Ukraine, launched "surprise" military manoeuvres on Wednesday, to test the reactive capacity of its army, its defence ministry said.
Belarus military units were testing their capacity to "go on the alert, move to predetermined zones and undertake combat training," the ministry said in a statement.
"The aim is to evaluate the readiness and ability of troops to react rapidly to a possible crisis," it continued, describing the manoeuvres as a "surprise" exercise.
It published photos of columns of vehicles, including tanks, moving along roads.
The exercise will be closely watched by Kyiv, which has repeatedly accused Belarus of planning to send troops into Ukraine to help Russia's military operation against its pro-Western neighbour.