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Subject Belarusian, Red Chinese paratroopers conduct 10-day exercise in former Soviet republic; first time PLA troops near NATO border, Belarus adjacent
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Original Message Since the beginning of the year, the former Soviet republic of Belarus has been in a considerable state of political and economic turmoil related in part to its large trade deficit and the devaluation of the Belarusian ruble. “Ex”-communist dictator Alexander Lukashenko desperately requires outside cash infusions and cheap natural gas from Russia, Belarus’ only reliable ally, to prop up his country’s ailing Soviet-style command economy.

In order to deflect domestic anger away from his mismanagement of the country and the fraudulent results of last year’s presidential election, which handed a fourth term to Lukashenko, Comrade Alex has unleashed the Belarusian KGB in a string of vicious crackdowns on the opposition.

In the wake of the Arab Spring, which has toppled dictatorships in Tunisia and Egypt and threatens to overthrow those in Libya and Yemen, democrats in Europe are once again urging Belarusians to rise up and overthrow Lukashenko. In the midst of this unrest, Comrade Alex has invited Red China to participate in joint “anti-terrorism” drills with the Belarusian armed forces. Belarus shares a border with Poland, a former Warsaw Pact state that is now part of NATO.

On July 5, an 83-strong special task force of paratroopers of the People’s Liberation Army arrived in Baranovichi, where they held a 10-day exercise with Belarusian counterparts, overcoming “challenges of language, geography and climate to accomplish the planned task with close cooperation and coordination.” On or around July 15, the PLA airborne troops flew back to Urumqi, capital city of Red China’s Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region.

“It was not only the first drills conducted jointly by soldiers from the Chinese and Belorussian armed forces, but also the first occasion for Chinese paratroopers to leave the country for joint training with foreign soldiers,” reports Red China’s state media, adding:

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