There are fears Belarus may be looking for an excuse to formally join the war on Ukraine after it accused Kyiv of planning to attack them.
According to Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, their ambassador in the Belarusian capital of Minsk, Ihor Kyzym, was summoned by Belarus’ Ministry of Foreign Affairs and presented with a diplomatic note accusing Ukraine of “planning an attack on the territory of Belarus.”
“This information does not correspond to reality,” the Ukrainians insisted in an official statement published in English.
“We categorically reject yet another insinuation of the Belarusian regime,” they added, warning that they “do not rule out that the handing over of the diplomatic note may be part of the plan of the Russian Federation to carry out a provocation to further accuse Ukraine.”
The statement comes as Anatoly Lappo, chairman of the State Border Committee of Belarus, has accused the Ukrainians of having “blown up” and mined roads on their shared border, and of harassing Belarusian border guards with live fire.
“We are under pressure, they are aiming at our border guards, sometimes they are shooting in the air, constant aerial reconnaissance is being carried out,” Lappo alleged.
Yesterday 🇺🇦Ambassador in Minsk Ihor Kyzym was invited to the MFA of Belarus and handed a diplomatic note. The Belarusian side claimed that Ukraine is allegedly planning an attack on the territory of Belarus. This information doesn’t correspond to reality.https://t.co/4V7rbvIvh5 pic.twitter.com/6cKiyZtLhK
— MFA of Ukraine 🇺🇦 (@MFA_Ukraine) October 9, 2022
The Ukrainians have been offered support by the U.S. ambassador in Kyiv (Kiev), Bridget Brink, in a statement posted on social media.
“Let’s be clear about who’s attacking whom,” she wrote.
“Russia violated Ukraine’s sovereignty and launches strikes that kill men, women, and children while they sleep, and Belarus allows its territory to be used in support of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.”
Indeed, while Belarus, led by strongman Alexander Lukashenko since 1994, has not formally joined the “special military operation” against Ukraine, it was used as the staging ground for Russia’s failed northern offensive towards Kyiv during its first phase, and continues to host Russian air and artillery assets.
So far unconfirmed reports suggest Iranian-made drones operating out of Belarus are participating in strikes Russia has launched against targets throughout Ukraine, including in Kyiv itself, in likely retaliation for damage inflicted on the bridge from Crimea to mainland Russia over the weekend.
A security camera captures the moment Russian missiles strike a bridge in Kyiv. Russia launched strikes against civilian targets across Ukraine Monday, in what Putin said was a response to the bombing of the sole bridge that connects Russia and Crimea. https://t.co/Wo21y4HVg7 pic.twitter.com/mJeJ9BLE9c
— ABC News (@ABC) October 10, 2022