Ukraine sees a high risk of an attack on western Ukraine’s Volyn region being launched from Belarus, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s office has said.
The Russian invasion has mostly focused on northern, southern and eastern areas of Ukraine, though missiles last week also hit the Yavoriv military base, close to the Polish border.
It was not immediately clear whether Ukraine saw the threat of an attack on Volyn from Russian forces or the Belarusian military, which has so far not publicly committed troops to supporting Russia.
Belarus has served as a staging post for Russian troops, missiles and aircraft, both before and after Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine on February 24, but it has not deployed its own forces in active battle.
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said on Tuesday that his country had intercepted a missile fired at it two days ago from Ukraine, but that it would resist what he called attempts to draw it into the conflict across the border.
Lukashenko said the missile was intercepted and destroyed by Belarus with Russian help over the Pripyat area, near the Ukrainian border.
The Kyiv government accused Russia last week of staging “false flag” air attacks on Belarus from Ukraine to provide an excuse for Moscow’s close ally, which has served as a staging post for Russian forces entering Ukraine, to join the conflict itself.
“I warned you that they would push us into this operation, into this war,” Lukashenko told Belarusian soldiers, according to the state news agency BelTA.
“There’s nothing for us to do there, and we haven’t been invited,” Lukashenko was quoted as saying. “I want to emphasise again … We are not going to become involved in this operation that Russia is conducting in Ukraine.”
Nevertheless, he suggested that Belarus’s patience was not unlimited. It was not clear how Ukraine would benefit from Belarus’s active participation in the war.