Russia and Belarus intensify joint military training, rehearse urban warfare - state TV

Jan 8 (Reuters) - Russia and Belarus have stepped up joint military training, drawing on Moscow’s experience of fighting in Ukraine with an emphasis on urban warfare, the Belarusian defence ministry’s TV channel reported on Sunday.

The Belarusian Defence Ministry said on Thursday that Moscow and Minsk had beefed up their joint military grouping in Belarus with weapons, soldiers and specialised equipment and planned to hold joint aviation drills.

Heightened military cooperation between the two allies comes amid speculation in Ukraine and the West that Moscow may use Belarus as a launching pad for a new attack on Ukraine from the north.

Minsk allowed Moscow to use Belarusian territory to send troops into Ukraine on Feb. 24 last year.

“The regional grouping of (Russian and Belarusian) troops is being trained almost without interruption,” the VoenTV channel said.

“The intensity of the exercises is only increasing. The goal is to be ready to fight back against an aggressor on all fronts.”

It said special attention was being paid to urban warfare training and spoke of drawing on Moscow’s experience fighting in Ukraine and of dealing with situations where the enemy set up fire points in various buildings. (Reporting by Reuters Editing by Andrew Osborn)