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Russia will not take part in OSCE meeting on Belarus military drills - TASS

Russia will not take part in a meeting of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to discuss its military drills in Belarus, TASS news agency cited Russian diplomat Konstantin Gavrilov as saying on Wednesday.

Gavrilov said the meeting that was requested by the Baltic States was scheduled for 1400 GMT in Vienna, TASS reported. Russia has built up troops and forces near Ukraine, fueling fears it could invade. Russia denies planning to attack. 

 Flags of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) are pictured outside their headquarters in Vienna, Austria February 15, 2022. (credit: LEONHARD FOEGER / REUTERS) Flags of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) are pictured outside their headquarters in Vienna, Austria February 15, 2022. (credit: LEONHARD FOEGER / REUTERS)

Belarusian Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei on Wednesday said no Russian soldiers or military equipment would remain in Belarus after joint military drills, a show of force that has raised Western fears Russia may be poised to invade Ukraine.

Moscow has repeatedly denied planning any incursion and said its troops would leave Belarusian territory, which neighbors Ukraine, once drills are over. Russia published video footage on Wednesday that it said showed a column of tanks and military vehicles leaving annexed Crimea after separate drills. 

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