Belarus is planning to support Russia in its invasion of Ukraine by deploying troops as soon as Monday, the Washington Post has reported, citing a U.S. administration official.
What Happened: Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko — a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin — has already allowed Russian troops to assemble in Belarus and use its territory to conduct large-scale military drills.
Belarus special forces were boarding planes on Feb. 27, preparing for deployment in or near Kyiv and Zhytomyr, as per a separate report by The Kyiv Independent, citing unnamed Belarus opposition journalists.
Why It Matters: Belarus’ decision to join the Russian invasion could increase tensions in Europe and also jeopardize the proposed talks between Russia and Ukraine, which the two sides planned to hold at the Ukrainian-Belarussian border.
Meanwhile, Putin ordered Russian nuclear forces to be placed on high alert Sunday in response to what he described as “aggressive statements” by leading NATO powers.
The U.S., along with France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom and Canada, announced Saturday evening that they would expel certain Russian banks from SWIFT, the high-security network that connects thousands of financial institutions around the world.
Photo: Courtesy of Serge Serebro via Wikimedia
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