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Fire erupts at oil refinery in Belarus after Ukraine warns of Russian 'provocation'

by Dinara Khalilova and The Kyiv Independent news desk August 10, 2023 6:07 PM 2 min read
The fire that broke out at a gasoline production unit of the Mozyr oil refinery in Belarus on Aug. 10, 2023. (Belarus' Ministry of Emergency Situations/Telegram)
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A fire broke out at a gasoline production unit of the Mozyr oil refinery in southeastern Belarus on Aug. 10, the country's emergency ministry reported.

First responders put out the fire, and the incident is being investigated, the ministry wrote. No casualties were reported.

Earlier, Ukraine's Security Service (SBU) said it had gathered intelligence indicating that Russia was preparing a large-scale false flag operation at the refinery.

Under the alleged plan, a Russian sabotage-reconnaissance group would carry out a "provocation" at the refinery, the SBU wrote on Aug. 4. Moscow would then blame the attack on Kyiv in an attempt to drive Belarus into the war against Ukraine.

The sabotage group reportedly comprises Russia's military personnel and employees of special services who were sent to Belarus under the guise of Wagner mercenaries.

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The Mozyr oil refinery is located in the Belarusian city of Mazyr, some 50 kilometers from the Ukrainian border and over 150 kilometers from Russia's border.

After the Wagner Group's failed rebellion against the Russian military leadership, thousands of Wagner troops and heavy equipment were relocated to Belarus from Russia. Minsk has claimed that the mercenaries are training the Belarusian military.

Belarus has been one of Russia's greatest allies and supporters since the beginning of the full-scale invasion in 2022, having supplied Russia with over 130,000 tons of ammunition over the past year.

Russia has also used Belarus as a strategic launching point for invading Ukraine. Most recently, Moscow claimed to have deployed tactical nuclear weapons on Belarusian territory.

George E. Bogden: Russian bombs in Belarus bear political significance
Late last month, Russian President Vladimir Putin moved ahead with his threat to deploy nuclear weapons on Belarusian soil. Echoing prior condemnation of this planned action, the U.S. State Department’s spokesman added: “we have seen no reason to adjust our strategic nuclear posture or any indicati…
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