Top officials in Belarusian, a key ally of Russia, is increasingly vocal this week about what it sees as provocative acts — and warns that it could soon be forced to respond harshly.
The head of Belarus’ border commission, Anatoly Lappo, stated that Poland is acting “provocatively” and that if any Polish attack is aimed at Belarusian border officials, Belarus will not hold back. .
“[If] there will be at least one bullet at our border guards, the answer will be immediate and ruthless.” Lappo said.
It’s just the latest sign that Belarus may be laying the groundwork to potentially use force against its neighbors by claiming provocations as justification. Threats echo on the road Russia organized raids against his army earlier this year to declare a reason to invade Ukraine.
The warning came at a time when Ukrainian forces were preparing for possible attacks from Belarus. According to the assessment from Colonel Roman Kostenko of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), it is very likely that Belarus will mobilize forces to invade Ukraine.
“This is a threat. Kostenko, Secretary of the Verkhovna Rada Committee for National Security, Defense and Intelligence of Ukraine, said in an interview. Ukrinform published this week.
Potential threats from Belarus have prompted Ukraine to keep a defensive line along the common Belarus-Ukraine border, Kostenko said.
The Ukrainian Army, the National Guard and the State Border Service also hosted the event general exercises near the border.
“We know that Belarus is an enemy. We realized they could go to war,” he added.
Belarus has been siding with Russia and the war in Ukraine for months now. While Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko is an important ally of Russia and allows Moscow to use Belarus as a staging ground for war, Lukashenko has also attempted to separate his country from the war in some respects. He accused the war of having dragged on for too long and repeatedly insisted he was interested in peace, not conflict.
But Lukashenko himself seems to be baffled by the idea that Ukraine and its neighbors are acting in the opposite direction right now. Earlier this week, he accused Ukraine of provocative actions against Belarus.
“Ukraine conducts optical, electronic and radio-technical reconnaissance of our territory, army and facilities, with their drones often violating the national borders of Belarus,” Lukashenko said. “They said that they were said to be very concerned about Belarus going to war but at the same time they continued their provocations on the border.”
Belarusian Defense Minister Viktor Khrenin also said that Russia’s war in Ukraine has led to national security threats to Belarus, especially because other countries see Belarus as an ally of Russia.
“Today, we believe that NATO forces in neighboring countries can become the core of which to create strike groups against Russia and Belarus as their closest ally.” Khrenin said on Thursday.
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has increased its military presence in neighboring countries near Belarus as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, due to its “pattern of aggression against neighboring countries”. and the broader transatlantic community”. NATO has deployed four multinational combat groups with about 4,500 troops arrived in Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and Poland as part of an effort to contain Russia.
However, Belarus is interpreting the rotational presence as a provocation, in line with Russia’s claim that NATO has long provoked Moscow.
“An analysis of the international situation and a forecast of its development allows to draw a number of main conclusions that demonstrate the presence of direct challenges to the military security of the Republic of Belarus,” Khrenin said on Tuesday at a military security meeting with Lukashenko.
According to Ukrainian intelligence reviewed by Colonel Kostenko of the Security Service, Belarus will enter the war if Russia wins.
But for now, Russia is struggling to maintain control over the territories it has seized. Last month, Ukrainian forces pushed Russia out of some of the territories it had seized in the northeast and south of the country. This week Ukrainian forces continue to push into territories that Moscow claims to have covered into Russia through illegal annexation.
However, Russia plans to send troops to Belarus shortly, Kostenko said.