Russia used its neighbour Belarus as a springboard for its invasion of Ukraine last February.
The two allies will conduct air force drills from Jan. 16-Feb. 1 using all Belarus military airfields and began joint army exercises involving a “mechanised brigade subdivision” on Monday, the Belarusian defence ministry said.
Minsk says the air drills are defensive and it will not enter the war.
“We’re maintaining restraint and patience, keeping our gunpowder dry,” said Pavel Muraveyko, first deputy state secretary of Belarusian Security Council, according to a post on the Belarusian defence ministry’s Telegram app on Sunday.
Muraveyko said the situation on the country’s southern border with Ukraine was “not very calm” and that Ukraine has been “provoking” Belarus.
“We are ready for any provocative actions on the part of Ukraine,” he said.
Moscow denies that it has been pressuring Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko to take a more active role in the conflict in Ukraine.
Ukraine has continuously warned of possible attacks from Belarus and President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said last week that the country must be ready at its border with Belarus.
Belarus has conducted numerous military exercises since the invasion began, both on its own and jointly with Russia. Together with Moscow, Minsk has also been bolstering the drills with weaponry and military equipment.
The Belarusian defence ministry said only that “units” of Russia’s air forces have been arriving in Belarus.