A U.S. State Department official has said Russia is likely to “attack Ukraine” from Belarus as it aims to crowd troops in the country.
“This time is noteworthy and raises concerns that Russia may intend to deploy troops to Belarus under the guise of a campaign to invade Ukraine from the north,” said a US Department of State official.
The official said, “Belarus’ participation in such an attack would not be entirely acceptable to Belarusian.”
Amid tensions with Ukraine on the border with Russia, President Lukashenko has announced that Russian troops and Belarus troops will be conducting tests next month.
The Russian news agency TASS, quoting a U.S. Department official, said that “regular exercise” involves 42 days’ notice and that at least 9,000 soldiers are involved, but this time there are 13,0000 soldiers, adding, “that’s what it looks like. this is a completely different thing. “
View: Europe looking at war? Russia conducts military tests
The official said “there are many concerns happening in Belarus” referring to Lukashenko’s regime facing domestic problems including sanctions on EU countries. A State Department official said Belarus had become a “degrading actor”.
The US has been warning that Russia could invade Ukraine with thousands of troops stationed at the border. The White House has recently indicated that attacks could occur between January and mid-February.
Russia has denied invading Ukraine and has insisted it can deploy troops anywhere in its territory. The Kremlin had previously sent a document to the US and NATO insisting that the European Union should not allow the former Soviet states to Ukraine. NATO, however, has rejected Russia’s request.
In the midst of a massive communications effort, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken will arrive in Kyiv on Wednesday as the White House has said Putin’s regime will attack “anywhere”.