Battle-hardened Defenders of Ukraine ‘are ready’ for potential Belarus invasion

Ukraine: Belarusian troops show destroyed Russian equipment

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Spokesperson Andriy Demchenko said that Kyiv “didn’t rule out” the possibility that Russian forces could use Belarusian territory to attack Ukraine or that Belarus might deploy its own forces in support of Moscow. However, Mr Demchenko insisted that Kyiv would be “ready” to respond as reports emerged of large scale Belarusian army drills.

He also added that Ukraine’s border with Belarus had been strengthened since the start of the Russian invasion.

He said: “We do not rule out that the Russian Federation could at some point use the territory of Belarus, the Armed Forces of the Republic of Belarus, against Ukraine. We are ready.”

On Wednesday, the armed forces of Belarus began sudden military drills to test their combat readiness, according to the defence ministry in Minsk.

Belarus is a close ally of Russia and allowed joint drills between the militaries of both countries prior to the Russian invasion of Ukraine which began on February 24.

The Belarusian ministry said in a statement: “It is planned that the (combat readiness) test will involve the movement of significant numbers of military vehicles, which can slow down traffic on public roads.”

The ministry added that the exercise posed no threat to its neighbours or the European community in general.

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko spoke to Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday and the two discussed what both countries refer to as the “special military operation” in Ukraine, among other issues, according to official statements.

Areas of Ukraine close to or bordering Belarus, including its capital Kyiv and the former Chernobyl Nuclear Power Station came under Russian assault in the initial stage of the invasion.

However, recently Russia has focused its attacks on Ukraine’s eastern and southeastern regions.

Mr Demchenko also added that Ukraine had also reinforced its border with the Russia-backed region of Transnistria, where tensions have been rising since local authorities said it was subject to a series of attacks.

Transdniestrian authorities said that explosions had damaged two radio masts and that one of its military units had been attacked last month.

Ukrainian officials have expressed concern about the situation in Transnistria, and condemned what it said were Russian attempts to drag the region into Russia’s war against Ukraine. 

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Moscow has a permanent military presence in the breakaway region and also voiced concern.

It said it is following events in Transnistria closely.

Transnistria is a small enclave within Moldova which is not widely recognised as an independent state of its own.

Kent Logsdon, the US ambassador to Moldova, said on Wednesday Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was of great concern around the world.

However, he told a conference in Moldova that Washington had no evidence that Moscow wanted to extend the war to Moldova and said Russian President Vladimir Putin would lose the war, Moldovan media reported.

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