Updated at 18:18,16-07-2018

Russian TV Informed about NATO Attack Against Belarus


On Monday evening Lipetsk TV channels (Russia) informed that refugees from a near-front zone arrived to the city.

It was informed that "the NATO countries attack against Belarus from the territory of Ukraine". Only later citizens were explained that drills of the internal troops of the Interior Affairs Ministry of Russia were taking place, and "an armed conflict" is a scenario of military manoeuvres, NEWSru.com informs with a reference to "Kommersant" newspaper. Fearing a diplomatic scandal, the military carried out "explanatory work" with the officers who made statements, and news reports were removed from websites.

"Today Lipetsk military men evaquated dwellers of Ukraine. Martial law was announced. The NATO countries attack Belarus from the territory of Ukraine. A plane wit hrefugees landed on Lipetsk airport," with such words on Monday evening the news item of the state-run TV company "Lipetskoe vremya" about the military drills started. The text of the news items was available at the website of the TV Company till the middle of Tuesday, and then was removed, but its copy is available in cash-archives of search engines, the newspaper informs.

An analogous report was on air of another Lipetsk TV company, "TVK Lipetsk", and is still available at its website. "First of all, we take scenarios from the real life. And secondly, proceeding from the public and political situation in the world. It includes interaction of the sides and their attitude to this case. In this way scenarios are created," Nikolay Ryabchikov, a commander of the troops of the Central regional command of the internal troops of the Interior Ministry of Russia was quoted in the news item.

The author of the item is a correspondent of "TVK Lipetsk" Oksana Korabelnikova, told to "Kommersant" that she and other journalists were told about the legend of the drills (Ukraine shows agression towards Belarus) by Major General Ryabchikov. The conversation was held while cameras were not working, and she was writing down the words of the general to a notebook.

The command of the internal troops dedicated the entire Tuesday to persuading others that Lipetsk journalists "had heard and seen something wrong", as the spokesperson of the internal troops of the Interior Affairs Ministry of Russia Colonel Vasily Panchenkov in a conversation with the newspaper. Colonel Panchenkov however didn't refute the information about the scenario of the drills. "We will say something today, and tomorrow there will be a diplomatic note," the colonel explained. "Let us leave our brothers alone, we have just started to mend relations with them". Besides, as said by the hean of the press-bureau, "it is just natural that some imprint is made on the exercises by the fact that some regions where the drills are held border on neighbouring states".

The tactical exercise of the internal troops, as said by Vasily Panchenkov, are held on April 13-17 in Moscow, Smolensk, Tula, Kaluga, Lipetsk, Tambov, Voronezh, Kursk and Bryansk oblasts uner a command of the central command of the internal troops General Colonel Alexandr Lvov; the general command is carried out by the Commander-In-Chief of the internal troops Nikolay Rogozhkin. The fact that the drills started on April 13, and "attack" of Ukraine agianst Belarus was announced by TV a day earlier is called an argument in favour of the fact that it was a mistake of journalists, Colonel Panchenkov said.

The press-service of Lipetsk Interior Affairs department with a reference to the leadership of regional riot police just confirmed the fact of these events and informed that they expect a visit of the Commander-In-Chief of the internal troops Nikolay Rogozhkin. The regional Emergencies department informed that they knew nothing about the general idea of the military exercise, referring to the fact that "they take almost no part in them". The spokesperson of the regional FSB (Federal Security Service of Russia) Elena Donskikh told that chekists were not taking part in the drills.

An interlocutor of "Kommersant" in the internal troops said anonimously that "the commanders who had made such statements have been talked to, and they won't say such things in the future. By all appearances, they have made their statements without due reflection about the results of their words, or simply wanted to show off in front of the cameras". The infromation and press department of the Foreign Affairs Ministry of Russia the newspaper was told that nothing is yet known about the reaction of Ukrainian and Belarusian authorities to Lipetsk drills.

At the moment the regional TV company "Lipetskoye vremya" reports only that the aim of the exercises is "to master anti-terrorist tasks".