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'Tension rises' at border with Belarus, Minsk accuses Kyiv of deploying troops

by Kateryna Hodunova and The Kyiv Independent news desk June 29, 2024 3:21 PM 2 min read
Security forces of the Belarusian Ministry of Internal Affairs at a training center in Minsk, Belarus on April 11, 2023. Photo for illustrative purposes. (Stringer/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
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The Belarusian military claimed that Ukraine is allegedly deploying its forces to the shared state border for potential "sabotage, terrorist acts," state-run news outlet Belta reported on June 29.

The Kyiv Independent couldn't verify the claim, while Belarusian state-run news outlets have a long history of unsubstantiated claims.

"The situation on the Belarus-Ukraine border is characterized by growing tension," Colonel Vadim Lukashevich, a high-ranking Belarusian military official, told Belta.

"They are attempting to drag our country into the war," he added.

Russian forces launched the all-out invasion of Ukraine from Belarus in early 2022 but suffered a defeat near Kyiv and were forced to pull back.

The Belarusian Defense Ministry announced earlier in June that it was beefing up security at the border with Ukraine after a series of "alleged security incidents."

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Lukashevich claimed that Ukrainian forces allegedly stationed military equipment, including American-produced ones, in Zhytomyr Oblast, which borders Belarus.

Lukashevich also claimed that Ukraine allegedly set up mines and other explosives near the border with Belarus. Lukashevich believes that this indicates plans of Ukrainian forces for further assault against Belarus, sabotage, and terrorist acts.

Lukashevich didn't provide evidence to back up his claims.

The Ukrainian Security and Defense Council's Center for Countering Disinformation said in May that Russia may opt to conduct a new psychological operation aimed at "stirring up mass panic" in Ukraine. The plan was to force Kyiv to believe that Belarusian troops would join Russia's war against Ukraine, according to the center.

"We expect a series of provocative statements by the top leadership of Russia and Belarus threatening Ukraine soon," the statement said.

Belarus has been a key ally to Moscow and supported Russian aggression against Ukraine but has not committed its own troops to fight directly in Russia's war.

Russia, Belarus begin second stage of tactical nuclear weapons drills
The latest drills will see Russian and Belarusian forces working on training “for the combat use of non-strategic nuclear weapons”, the Russian Defense Ministry said on June 11.

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