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Belarus to form new paramilitary force amid Ukraine conflict


MOSCOW (AP) — Belarus’ authoritarian president says the ex-Soviet nation will form a new territorial defense force amid the fighting in neighboring Ukraine. President Alexander Lukashenko has cultivated close military ties with Russia, which used Belarusian territory to send troops into Ukraine nearly a year ago at the start of what the Kremlin calls its “special military operation.” Speaking during a meeting with officials Monday, Lukashenko said the country needs to form paramilitary units in every town or village to serve as territorial defense to complement the country’s 45,000 military “in case of aggression.” Defense Minister Viktor Khrenin said Belarus will form a force of up to 150,000 volunteers who will be given weapons but will keep their civilian jobs.

Article Topic Follows: AP National

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