Russia could potentially attack Ukraine from Belarus: US State Department official

WION Web Team
Washington Updated: Jan 27, 2022, 06:45 PM(IST)

This file photo shows Ukrainian forces on the Russian frontline near to Avdiivka, south-eastern Ukraine. Photograph:( AFP )

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The US has been warning that Russia could launch an attack on Ukraine with thousands of troops stationed at the border. The White House said recently that the attack could come in mid-January to mid-February.

A US State Department official said Russia could "potentially attack Ukraine" from Belarus as it intends to station troops in the country.

"The timing is notable and raises concerns that Russia could intend to station troops in Belarus under the guise of joint military exercises in order potentially to attack Ukraine from the north," a US State Department official said.

The official said, "Belarus’ complicity in such an attack would be completely unacceptable to Belarusian."

Also Read in Pics: Rebel-held regions of eastern Ukraine are growing closer to Russia

Amid tensions with Ukraine at the border with Russia, President Lukashenko had announced that Russian forces and the Belarus military would be conducting drills next month.

Russian news agency TASS, quoting the US State Department official said  a "normal exercise" involves notification of 42 days and at least 9,000 troops are involved, but this time there are 13,0000 troops, adding, "that's what normal looks like, what this is is something entirely different."

Watch: Europe heading for war? Russia conducts military drills

The official said there are "many troubling things happening in Belarus" referring to Lukashenko's regime which has been facing domestic trouble including sanctions from EU countries. The State Department official said Belarus had increasingly become a "destabilising actor".

The US has been warning that Russia could launch an attack on Ukraine with thousands of troops stationed at the border. The White House said recently that the attack could come in mid-January to mid-February.

Also Read: What will happen if Russian troops invade Ukraine?

Russia has denied it is set to invade Ukraine and has insisted it can move troops anywhere inside its region. Kremlin had earlier submitted a document to the US and NATO asserting that the European military alliance should not admit ex-Soviet countries referring to Ukraine. NATO has however rejected Russia's demand. 

Amid hectic diplomatic efforts, the US secretary of state Antony Blinken is set to arrive in Kyiv on Wednesday as the White House said Putin's regime is set to attack at "any point".

(With inputs from Agencies)

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