After sending a diplomatic note to Ukraine on Saturday accusing the country of planning an attack on Belarus, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko is now partnering with Russian President, Vladimir Putin to reportedly allow Russian troops to amass in Belarus to “deploy a regional grouping” of Russian and Belarusian soldiers to Ukraine.
On Monday, the Ukrainian military issued a statement stating that the missiles used in a recent air assault on Kyiv, in response to the bombing of the Kerch Bridge in Crimea, were launched from Belarus. “The enemy used Iranian Shahed-136 UVAs in strikes launched from the territory of Belarus,” the statement said.
While Belarus did allow Putin to use its territory as a staging ground for the invasion on February 24th, allowing Russian soldiers to amass for what was described as “training exercises,” Belarus has not been involved in the conflict with Ukraine since. However, that distance from the war appears to have diminished since last week when Ukraine bombed the Kerch Bridge linking the Crimean Peninsula with mainland Russia.
Lukashenko’s continued signaling that Belarus may be entering the war in Ukraine is alarming to leaders all over the world, but particularly to those closest to the war. On Monday, Warsaw issued a warning to its citizens in Belarus, “We recommend that Polish citizens staying on the territory of the Republic of Belarus leave its territory with available commercial and private means.”
While it is still unclear what exactly Lukashenko’s plans are regarding formally joining the war as a Russian ally, it is clear that his accusations and planned joint deployment of Russian and Belarusian troops have global leaders on edge as the world watches and waits.
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