Russia relocates 9 jets and 11 helicopters from Belarusian airbase to Russia, amid drone attacks fear

On 5 August 2023, 9 Russian fighter jets and 11 helicopters left Belarus, heading back to Russia after months of their presence in Belarus. This was reported by Belarusian Hajun, a project which monitors the movement of military equipment.

It comes after Ukrainian sea drones attacked a Russian warship near the port of Novorossiysk on Friday and a Russian chemical tanker near the Kerch Bridge that connects occupied Crimea to Russia on Saturday.

Around 13:30, 9 Su-34 and Su-30SM fighters of the Russian Aerospace Forces took off from the Baranovichi airfield in Belarus. They proceeded through the Mogilev region to Russia, Belarusian Hajun writes, noting that most of the planes spent 202 days in Belarus since 15 January 2023.

Also, by 14:00, 11 helicopters Mi-8 and Mi-24 left from Machulishchi airfield in central Belarus towards Russia.

The massive relocation of aviation from Belarus to Russia happens simultaneously with the relocation of Wagner private military company units to Belarus from Russia. Stationed near Lithuanian and Latvian borders, Wagner units caused increased expectations of provocations from the side of Belarus, putting border troops of EU countries on the alert.

Russia and Belarus are formally part of a “union state” and have been in talks for years to further integrate their nations.

The negotiations have long spurred fears among the beleaguered Belarusian opposition that Lukashenko might trade off chunks of sovereignty in return for even more political backing from the Kremlin.

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