Thirty UK Royal Marines from the 42nd Commando Unit recently arrived in Belarus, a neighbour and an ally of Russia, as a part of a bilateral exchange of combat experience.
"Exercise Winter Partisan represents the return phase of this year’s bilateral exchange between the UK and Belarus and will help to build trust and mutual understanding", the UK Ministry of Defence announced.
According to the British Ministry of Defence, the marines were supposed to train with their Belarusian counterparts until the 14th of March as part of the Winter Partisan exercise in winter survival skills such as camouflage and skiing. However, by the time they arrived, there was no snow left to ski on or do any other winter-related exercises due to abnormally warm winter.
Joint drills of Royal Marines and Belarus armed forces in Belarus. Never happened before. pic.twitter.com/fW09N3uLVW— Franak Viačorka (@franakviacorka) March 2, 2020
This fact can be seen as a real let down for the UK since it is the first time the country has sent such a large force to Belarus for training. Still the trip is not necessarily a failure as aside from winter training Belarusian forces were also planning to jointly train with their British counterparts in running operations for UN peacekeeping missions.
British and Belarusian troops previously cooperated with the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Irish Regiment during the Exercise Urban Ranger. They also secured second place in the Exercise Cambrian Patrol that took place in Wales last year.