Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov (Photo Credit: Valery Sharifulin/TASS)

Moscow is not considering the issue of further presence of Russian troops in Belarus after the end of joint military drills, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Thursday.

“This issue is not being considered,” the Russian presidential spokesman said, replying to a question about whether Moscow would consider the issue of the presence of Russian troops on Belarusian soil after the military drills.

As the Kremlin spokesman pointed out, the Russia-Belarus joint military drills are currently in progress and “upon the completion of a particular phase of the drills, the troops will be pulled back to their permanent bases.”

“This is a process that will take a certain number of weeks. Of course, it is simply impossible within 24 hours to pull out all that has accumulated there for weeks,” the Russian president’s press secretary said, emphasizing that “this is routine practice of military drills.”

In response to a corresponding question, the Kremlin spokesman said that [Russian President Vladimir] Putin had no plans in his schedule to hold a joint inspection [of the military drills] [together with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko], although the presidents can agree on anything whatsoever.” “For the time being, the president’s schedule does not include this item,” Peskov pointed out.

Responding to a question related to the positions of Russia and Belarus on Donbass, the Kremlin press secretary suggested waiting for a meeting between Putin and Lukashenko on Friday.

“Both presidents will most likely tell you about everything after their talk,” Peskov told reporters.

The Union Resolve 2022 joint Russia-Belarus drills are running on Belarusian territory on February 10-12 as part of the second stage of the inspection of the Union State’s Response Force. Minsk and Moscow have repeatedly stated that the drills are of a purely defensive nature and pose no threat to the European community as a whole and to neighboring states in particular.