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KYIV — Belarus summoned Ukraine’s ambassador on Thursday after Minsk said its neighbor shot down a Ukrainian missile that strayed over the border. Meanwhile, Kyiv said it suspected Russia of creating a “deliberate provocation” amid the ongoing war.
Belarus’ Defense Ministry said an S-300 air defense missile was shot down over the village of Gorbakha in the Brest region of northern Ukraine. Debris was found in an agricultural field near the village.
“The wreckage belongs to the S-300 anti-aircraft guided missile launched from Ukrainian territory,” the Belarusian ministry said.
The Foreign Ministry also demanded that Ukraine carry out a thorough investigation into the circumstances surrounding the launch of the missile, calling for those responsible to be brought to justice, as well as measures to prevent similar incidents at the coming.
“It can have catastrophic consequences for everyone,” said Anatoly Glaz, spokesman for the Belarusian foreign ministry, according to Radio Liberty.
The missile report came Thursday amid a massive Russian assault on Ukraine, with 69 missiles fired, causing casualties and blackouts across the country. Ukrainian air defense units managed to shoot down 54 of the missiles.
Ukraine’s Defense Ministry neither confirmed nor denied the Belarusian reports, but said it suspected “provocation” from Moscow.
“Ukraine is aware of the Kremlin’s desperate and persistent efforts to implicate Belarus in its war of aggression against Ukraine,” the ministry said in a statement.
“In this regard, the Ukrainian side does not exclude a deliberate provocation by the terrorist state of Russia, which has laid out such a route for its cruise missiles in order to provoke their interception in the airspace above the territory of Belarus.”
He added that Ukraine was nevertheless ready to carry out an investigation into what had happened.
“Ukraine is ready to invite authoritative experts among states that are not associated with supporting the Russian terrorist state in any form to participate in such an investigation,” the Ukrainian Defense Ministry said. .
Since the beginning of Moscow’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February, Belarus has provided its territory and military bases to Russia to stage attacks against Ukraine.
At a meeting of the Belarusian defense council in October, leader Alexander Lukashenko admitted that his country had taken part in Russia’s war against Ukraine. However, he added that the Belarusians were not killing anyone there.
“We participate to prevent the spread of this conflict on the territory of Belarus, first. Second, to prevent an attack on Belarus under the cover of a special military operation by Poland, Lithuania and Latvia,” Lukashenko said. “No one will shoot Russians in the back from Belarus. This is our participation.”
Experts, including from the US think tank Institute for the Study of War, have said it is extremely unlikely that Belarus will be able to invade Ukraine in the foreseeable future. Either way, the Kremlin continues to use this as a threat in the information war against Ukraine.
“Furthermore, the Belarusian intervention in Ukraine could do no more than temporarily draw Ukrainian ground forces away from other parts of the theater given the extremely limited effective combat power available to Minsk,” the group wrote. reflection in an evaluation at the beginning of the month. .