Ukrainian officials on Friday said that Belarus could be planning to invade its territory, accusing Russia of attempting to drag its ally into the conflict.
Ukraine’s Air Force Command, on March 11, alleged that border officials obtained information detailing how Russian aircraft took off from a Belarus airfield, crossed into Ukraine, and fired at the Belarussian village of Kopani.
The Ukrainian “State Border Service received information that Russian aircraft took off from Dubrovytsia airfield (Belarus), entered the territory of Ukraine, turned over our populated areas of Horodychi and Tumen, and then launched an airstrike on the populated area of Kopani (Belarus),” said the Air Force Command on social media. It included a video that purported to show part of the incident.
The claim could not be immediately verified by The Epoch Times. Russia’s Ministry of Defense has not publicly responded to the allegations.
The Command said it is “watching the occupation of this settlement,” adding: “This is a provocation! The goal is to involve the armed forces of the Republic of Belarus in the war with Ukraine.”
Belarusian Defense Ministry spokeswoman Ina Harbachova said the Ukrainian Air Force Command made a false statement.
“The Defense Ministry unequivocally states that the information about a missile strike at a Belarusian village is nonsense,” Harbachova said.
Several Belarussian media outlets reported that they found no confirmation of an airstrike in Belarus.
Russia stationed troops and armored vehicles in Belarus in the weeks leading up to the invasion, using the Eastern European nation as a launching point. Belarus, however, has not deployed its own forces in active battle.
The alleged attacks took place on Friday, the same day that Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow.
“We also understand that the Belarusian government has been doing everything possible to avoid joining this war,” Ukrainian deputy interior minister Yevheniy Yenin said on national television on Friday.
It comes as Russia’s main attack force has been reportedly stalled on roads north of Kyiv, having failed in what Western analysts say was an initial plan for a lightning assault.
But images released by private U.S. satellite firm Maxar showed armored units maneuvering in and through towns close to an airport on Kyiv’s northwest outskirts, the site of fighting since Russia landed paratroopers there in the first hours of the war.
Other elements had repositioned near the settlement of Lubyanka just to the north, with artillery howitzers in firing positions, Maxar said.
Britain’s Defence Ministry said Russia appeared to be gearing up for new offensive activity in the coming days that would probably include operations against Kyiv.
Reuters contributed to this report.
From The Epoch Times