Ukrainian forces have destroyed almost all bridges and mined the roads along the border with Belarus, Anatoly Lappo, chairman of the State Border Committee of Belarus, said on Sunday. Minsk has accused Kiev of planning imminent strikes on its territory.
“Today, almost all border bridges have been blown up, and automobile and railway border routes are completely mined,” Lappo told Belarusian TV, according to Russia’s Interfax news agency.
Ukrainian forces have fortified the border “to the extent that they put anti-tank mines in three rows on the roads,” Lappo said.
The troops Kiev has sent to the border are “not border guards,” Lappo claimed. “We are under pressure, they are aiming at our border guards, sometimes they shoot in the air, constant aerial reconnaissance is being carried out,” he added.
A day before the news broke, Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry claimed that its ambassador to Belarus was summoned to the Belarusian Foreign Ministry and handed an official note saying that “Ukraine is planning to conduct a strike on the territory of Belarus.” The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said that it “categorically rejects” the accusation, adding that it could be part of a Russian plan to “stage a provocation and further accuse” Kiev.
Earlier this week, Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko accused Ukraine of massing tens of thousands of soldiers near the border. While Lukashenko allowed Russian troops to enter Ukraine from its territory at the beginning of Russia’s military operation in Ukraine, he said last week that Belarus’ role in the conflict is limited to self-defense and denying Ukraine the ability to “shoot Russians in the back from the territory of Belarus.”
With tensions along the 1,000-kilometer border rising, the Belarusian Defense Ministry stated that it has the capacity to field 500,000 trained troops “if the need arises.”