Ahead Of Putin-Lukashenka Summit, Russian Jets Arrive To Help Patrol Belarusian Borders.

Belarusian officials say Russian fighter jets have arrived to help patrol Belarus's borders, as part of a new joint military effort.

The arrival of the Sukhoi jets, announced on September 8, comes a day ahead of a critical meeting between Belarusian leader Alyaksandr Lukashenka and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow.

The Russian jets "arrived at the Baranovichi airfield to form a joint training center for the air force and air defense forces of Belarus and Russia," the Belarusian Defense Ministry said in a statement .

The statement did not say how many jets arrived, or give further details.

The jets' arrival also comes two days ahead of major military exercises involving thousands of troops from both countries -- exercises that have prompted public statements of concern from some NATO countries.

Lukashenka and Putin's meeting comes with growing speculation that the two leaders could finalize an integration of the two countries planned decades ago, something known as the union state.

The project would be a major step toward reuniting the two countries, but also could undermined Belarus's sovereignty, something Lukashenka has strenuously resisted for years.

But Lukashenka has been increasingly isolated since a presidential election last year in which he claimed reelection to a sixth term. The vote was condemned by Belarus's opposition as rigged, and prompted months of street protests that Belarusian security forces have harshly cracked down on. Western governments have ignored Lukashenka's claim to reelection.

In recent weeks, Belarusian officials have given signals that Lukashenka might finally be moving to sign the last of a series of "road maps" that would finally lead to the union state.

Earlier this month, Lukashenka said Russia would soon deliver a huge military hardware consignment to Belarus, including aircraft, helicopters, and air-defense systems.

With reporting by Reuters

Radio Free Europe

RFE/RL journalists report the news in 22 countries where a free press is banned by the government or not fully established, including Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Russia.

https://www.rferl.org/

Related news
Detentions At Kazakh Opposition Rally

Detentions At Kazakh Opposition Rally

The Kazakh police detained at least six activists during a September 18 opposition protest in Almaty. Supporters of the officially unregistered Democratic Party chanted: "Nazarbaev, go away!" Former authoritarian President Nursultan Nazarbaev has ...

Radio Free Europe

Telegram Removes Navalny's Smart Voting From Messaging Service.

Telegram Removes Navalny's Smart Voting From Messaging Service.

Popular messaging app Telegram is suspending all chat bots used in the Russian elections campaign, in another blow to jailed opposition politician Aleksei Navalny’s Smart Voting initiative after Apple and Google removed the election-guide app from...

Radio Free Europe

Exclusive: Climate lawsuits could see governments pay over £13 billion to firms over policy shift.

Exclusive: Climate lawsuits could see governments pay over £13 billion to firms over policy shift.

Five big companies are suing governments for a possible loss of earnings due to the shift away from fossil fuels around the world. One example is the Dutch government's move to shut down coal-fired power plants by 2030 with the German company Unip...

How new security partnership AUKUS could affect U.S. relations with China

How new security partnership AUKUS could affect U.S. relations with China

President Joe Biden has announced a new national security initiative focused on the Indo-Pacific region. CBS News senior foreign correspondent Elizabeth Palmer joined CBSN's Tanya Rivero for more on what this means for relations with China. CBSN i...

Should the general population get booster shots now?.

Should the general population get booster shots now?.

The FDA will decide on Friday whether some vaccinated people should get COVID-19 booster shots. Dr. Marcos Mestre, vice president and chief medical officer of Nicklaus Children's Hospital, joins CBSN with more. CBSN is CBS News’ 24/7 digital strea...

Good weather sees migrant journeys rise

Good weather sees migrant journeys rise

Many make the crossing from France to the UK as the weather becomes favourable. Some have payed thousands to smuggling gangs to make the illegal journey with no guarantee of it paying off. Questions are now being asked about how the UK can make Fr...

Diving Into The World Of Sharks - Nightly News: Kids Edition.

Diving Into The World Of Sharks - Nightly News: Kids Edition.

Ask the Doc: Dr. John Torres answers your latest questions about the coronavirus. How do meteorologists predict the paths of storms? NBC News’ weather forecaster Dave Price explains. Al Roker shows us what it’s like to experience weightlessness on...

German elections: Who is favourite to be Chancellor?.

German elections: Who is favourite to be Chancellor?.

Germans look ahead to end of Chancellor Merkel as they prepare to vote but many are still repairing after the nations' flooding. The politician of choice was Armin Laschet but he has fallen in the polls with the Christian Democrats Union's Olaf Sc...