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Moscow reacts to Ukrainian troops on its ally’s border

Kiev has confirmed having reinforced the frontier with Belarus, calling it a “dangerous” direction

The deployment of Ukrainian troops on the Belarusian border is an alarming sign not only for Minsk but also for Russia, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Monday.

On Saturday, Colonel Vadim Lukashevich, deputy commander of Belarusian special operations forces, claimed that Ukraine was amassing troops, including US-made armored vehicles and missile systems, on the 1,000km border with its northern neighbor despite suffering heavy losses in the fight with Russia.

He noted that while Kiev wants to portray this troop concentration as a defensive force, lanes had been created in the minefields for possible incursions. The Belarusian Border Service has also said that it had spotted militants from the Russian Volunteer Corps (RDK), which is composed of Russian defectors operating in the border areas.

The RDK, which is designated a terrorist organization by Moscow, was among the groups that took part in several incursions into Russian territory several months ago, although those attacks were repelled with heavy losses.

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On Monday, Andrey Demchenko, the spokesman for Ukraine’s Border Service, confirmed that Kiev was boosting its military footprint on the Belarusian border. He explained that Ukraine views this direction as “dangerous.” “We continue to strengthen it… to prevent any actions that may come from the territory of Belarus,” he explained, while dismissing Minsk’s accusations as an “information operation.”

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Meanwhile, Peskov also weighed in on the Belarus-Ukraine border tensions, telling reporters that the Ukrainian deployment “is a cause for concern not only for Minsk, but also for Moscow.” He recalled that Belarus is Russia’s close ally, noting that the countries’ military and special services maintain contact on the issue. The spokesman added that Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko could discuss the situation if it becomes necessary.

While Belarus is not directly involved in the Ukraine conflict, it allowed Moscow to use its territory for a push towards Kiev early in the conflict. However, Russian troops withdrew from the outskirts of the Ukrainian capital in the spring of 2022, calling the move a “gesture of good will” to propel peace talks in Istanbul.

While the negotiations, which revolved around Ukraine’s neutrality, initially made headway, they later collapsed. Moscow has blamed the failure of the talks on the interference of then-UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who allegedly advised Kiev to keep fighting. Johnson has rejected this claim.

July 01, 2024 at 08:17PM

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