Fears are mounting among Ukrainian officials that Russian President Vladimir Putin may decide to escalate his attacks on Ukraine during the country’s Independence Day holiday next week.
“It is imperative that we are prepared for possible missile attacks,” Yuriy Ihnat, spokesman for the Air Force Command of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, said on Wednesday. He warned that Russia prefers to use certain special dates for so-called “congratulations”.
There are concerns that Russia could use Belarus as a launching pad for attacks given the spate of movements observed there in recent days, Ihnat said.
“We are constantly monitoring the movement of [Russian] Troops on the territory of Belarus, as well as the transportation of ammunition, Iskander and other types of missiles. That happens all the time. If an Il-76 flies from the Russian Federation to the territory of Belarus, then it is clear that it is delivering weapons,” Ihnat said.
Russia could up the ante along the entire front, according to Andrii Yusov, a representative of the Main Intelligence Service at Ukraine’s Defense Ministry.
“In the near future there will be a very tense situation along the entire front,” Jussow said. “Especially now there are talks about Independence Day.”
The timing of a possible flare-up remains to be seen, of course. But whether Independence Day is approaching or not, Russia’s efforts to stockpile missiles at the Ziabrovka airfield, some 15 miles from the Ukraine-Belarusian border, are beginning to worry Valeriy Zaluzhnyi, commander-in-chief of Ukraine’s armed forces, he said Tuesday.
“The location of missile systems along the state border shared with the Republic of Belarus, particularly at Ziabrivka airfield, is a matter of concern,” Zaluzhnyi said in a telegram contribution from Ziabrovka airfield, which the Russians control and where Russian forces are stationed.
Notably, Russia has stored S-400 systems, advanced anti-aircraft weapons, near the Ukraine-Belarus border, which the report says is sparking alarms about Russia’s next steps Anton Gerashenkoan adviser to the Ukrainian Ministry of Interior.
Independent military analysis shows that Belarus may also be preparing for an attack. Armed forces have built up at Ziabrovka airfield, according to Belarusian Hajun, a military analysis organization.
“An analysis of the situation at the airfield proves that not only does the probability of missile attacks on Ukrainian territory remain, but it seems that the Russians are preparing for a massive missile attack on Ukraine in the coming weeks,” Belarusian Hajun said in a telegram post.
“The regime has abolished Belarus’ own sovereignty.”
Fighters were sighted over Kobrin and Diaroza districts on Wednesday. said the organization.
It is not the first time that Russia has used Belarus to stage attacks on Ukraine in the war, which is nearing the end of its sixth month. In the early days of the war, Russian forces used Belarus to attempt to launch an invasion effort focused on capturing Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv. The operation eventually failed.
Since then, Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko has announced combat readiness exercises that could take Belarus from peacetime to wartime in June and is working to build a military unit centered on the country’s border with Ukraine.
The news of a potential flashpoint with Belarus comes as Putin has suffered several embarrassing military setbacks in recent days – including a devastating attack on an airfield in Crimea reportedly launched by Ukraine – which former diplomats say Russia could lead to leaning more on Belarus. Lukashenko’s relationship with Putin has been a give-and-take for a number of years: Putin backed Lukashenko after disagreements built over the legitimacy of his 2020 election, and the two countries have long developed a “union-state” relationship centered on the entanglement of the both nations concentrated.
The Biden administration on Wednesday criticized Lukashenko’s decision to repeatedly allow Russian forces into their country to attack Ukraine.
“The regime has suspended Belarus’ own sovereignty and independence, and to some extent its territorial integrity, by allowing Russian forces to launch a brutal, premeditated and unwarranted attack on – again sovereign Belarusian soil – its neighbor to the south” , State Department chief spokesman Ned Price told reporters on Wednesday.
In recent weeks, Russia appears to be leaning on Belarus again. Ukraine is suffering from Russian attacks launched from Belarus as air raid sirens try to warn residents of incoming hits, according to Ukrainian authorities. On Tuesday, Russian missiles were aimed at Ukraine’s Zhytomyr district, a region Russian forces have repeatedly attacked in recent months, Zhytomyr Mayor Serhiy Sukhomlyn said.
Vitaly Bunechko, the head of the regional military administration, confirmed that the missiles came from Belarusian territory and urged residents to watch out for air raid sirens.
“Fortunately, after explosions in the Zhytomyr district caused by enemy missiles fired from the territory of Belarus, there are no casualties,” Bunechko said. “Once again, we urge residents of the region not to ignore air warning signals and to remain in emergency shelters while sirens are blaring.”
https://www.thedailybeast.com/is-vladimir-putin-planning-to-unleash-a-special-attack-from-belarus-on-ukraines-independence-day?source=articles&via=rss Is Vladimir Putin planning to unleash a special attack from Belarus on Ukraine’s Independence Day?