Ukrainian officials warned on Sunday that the Belarusian military was preparing to invade at the onset of the fifth week since Russian President Vladimir Putin’s forces first descended on Ukraine last month.
In a statement shared to Facebook, Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense said there were signs that suggested the armed forces of the Republic of Belarus were preparing for a “direct invasion” of Ukrainian territory. Belarus borders Ukraine to the north and was reportedly used as a staging area for Russian forces. Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense issued a stern warning for Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko.
According to Reuters, Belarus has served as a staging post for Russian troops, missiles, and aircraft, both before and after Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, but it has not deployed its own forces in active battle. Ukraine’s military accused Russian aircraft of firing at Belarusian border villages from Ukrainian air space on Friday to provide an excuse for an offensive.
“This is a PROVOCATION! The goal is to involve the Armed Forces of the Republic of Belarus in the war with Ukraine!” Ukraine’s Air Force Command said in an online statement. The Kremlin did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the Air Force Command’s statement.
“The direct involvement of Belarusian troops in the Russian armed aggression against Ukraine, contrary to the will of the military and the vast majority of the Belarusian people, will become a fatal mistake of Alexander Lukashenko,” the statement said of Putin’s close ally.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Sunday warned of a third world war if negotiations with Russia fail. Zelensky told CNN’s Fareed Zakaria that talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin are vital, saying Ukraine has been reeling since Moscow launched its invasion. “We were losing people on a daily basis, innocent people on the ground. … Russian forces have come to exterminate us, to kill us,” Zelensky told Zakaria.
“Unfortunately, our dignity is not going to preserve the lives, so I think that we have to do any format, any chance, so in order to have … the possibility of talking to Putin. But if these attempts fail, that would mean … a third world war,” Zelensky added. Zakaria also asked Zelensky if Ukraine is willing to make comprises to end the Russian invasion, including not joining NATO, as Putin has demanded.
Meanwhile, a new report indicates that the United States’ reactionary moves to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine suggest that it does not have an adequate plan in place to respond if Russian President Vladimir Putin decides to use a nuclear weapon, a former U.S. intelligence officer told Fox News.
Rebekah Koffler, a former U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency agent and author of “Putin’s Playbook: Russia’s Secret Plan to Defeat America,” explained to Fox News that while the U.S. certainly has a strategic plan in place if Putin uses a nuclear weapon, recent responses to Russia’s aggression instill little confidence that the United States is doing the necessary preparation for such an outcome.
Koffler said that “the fact that we have not responded in a methodical manner to any of Putin’s actions nor have we deterred any of his actions” is reason to be concerned that the United States does not have a coherent plan to respond to a potential nuclear attack.
“Judging by our overall response and that we put all our eggs in one basket with sanctions and we were caught off guard regardless of the fact Putin never made it a secret what he was going to do yet we are grasping at straws,” Kofffler said. “Given that, it doesn’t seem that we are prepared for the possibility of him using nuclear weapons.”