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Lukashenko admits Russian troops invaded Ukraine through Belarus in 2022

by Elsa Court and The Kyiv Independent news desk August 18, 2023 12:04 AM 2 min read
Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko during the Eurasian Economic Union meeting at the Grand Kremlin Palace on May 25, 2023, in Moscow, Russia. (Photo by Contributor/Getty Images)
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Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko admitted that Russian forces had invaded Ukraine from the territory of Belarus in February 2022 in an interview with a pro-Kremlin presenter published on Aug. 17.

While Lukashenko claimed that "not a single Belarusian was involved," he said that some Russian troops entered Ukraine after the completion of "large-scale" training exercises in Belarus.

"The training ended, Russian troops began to withdraw from the territory of Belarus... They began to leave, and on Feb. 23, 24, part of these troops began to cross the border of Ukraine and Russia," Lukashenko said to the Ukrainian-born interviewer, Diana Panchenko.

When Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022, its forces started advancing from multiple fronts, including from the north, where Ukraine borders both Russia and Belarus. From up north, Russian forces were moving toward Kyiv in a bid to capture the Ukrainian capital only to suffer a defeat in late March.

Though Belarus hasn't officially joined Russia's war, Moscow has used Belarusian territory to launch missiles and drones at Ukraine, as well as trained its troops there.

Panchenko used to be a presenter for the now-banned Ukrainian channel NewsOne, a pro-Russian channel owned by Viktor Medvedchuk, the ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Panchenko regularly spreads Kremlin narratives about the invasion of Ukraine on her social media channels.

Medvedchuk was a co-leader of the Opposition Platform-For Life, a pro-Kremlin party that was banned in March 2022.

He was charged with high treason and placed under house arrest in 2021. Medvedchuk fled after Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24 and was re-arrested in April.

In September, he was handed over to Russia as part of a prisoner exchange.

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