Belarus: Ukrainian media spreading lies about cross-border shooting
The Belarusian border agency warns of internet sources and Ukrainian media that spread allegations about a cross-border shooting that happened at the border with Ukraine on February 25.
Ukrainian media had been pumping out disinformation about a shootout on their shared border that allegedly killed a Ukrainian soldier, the Belarusian border agency warned on Sunday.
"Several internet sources… have referenced Ukrainian media that alleged that a cross-border shooting happened at the border with Ukraine on February 25," State Border Committee spokesperson Anton Bychkovsky told Sputnik.
"The information spread by extremists is far from reality. There were no incidents involving firearms and border guards did not open fire," he added.
On a separate note, the chief of the information and analysis department at the general staff of the Belarusian armed forces said on Sunday that the government would review its military strategy to classify groups calling for war in Belarus as a national security threat.
The draft marked shifting from the idea of a security risk as a combination of factors to a more nuanced approach that involved "terrorist organizations promoting civil war in Belarus" as well as "traitors" and "saboteurs", Artyom Butorin told state news channel STV.
Belarus warns massing of Ukraine forces at borders risks escalation
Belarus said on Tuesday that there was a significant grouping of Ukrainian troops massed near its border and warned that this posed a threat to its security.
Belarus said a significant number of Ukrainian soldiers are positioned at its borders warning that the probability of an armed escalation has been high for a long time.
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko stated earlier that his country will only act in self-defense if attacked by Ukraine.
Lukashenko said on Tuesday that over 150 joint events with Russia were planned this year, including a major drill called "Union Shield 2023" in September.
No imminent threat from Belarus
On his part, Mykhailo Podolyak, a senior advisor to Ukraine's President, told Reuters on Tuesday that Belarus was increasing its "aggressive and militaristic rhetoric" ahead of the first anniversary of the Russian-Ukrainian war, adding however that Kiev sees no indications that Belarus is preparing to carry out any threats.
Podolyak's comment came in response to Belarus' warning of a significant grouping of Ukrainian servicemembers on its borders.
Union State alliance
On October 10, Lukashenko said Minsk and Moscow agreed on deploying a joint military group as the security situation was declining on the western border of the Union State, a supranational union between Belarus and Russia founded in 2000 with the objective of integrating both nations' political, economic, and defense policies.
In early December, Russian President Vladimir Putin said at a meeting with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko that Moscow and Minsk are not only good neighbors but also have developed ally relations, including economic cooperation.
On New Year's Eve of 2023, Russia announced that Moscow and Mink's bilateral relations have reached new highs in light of recent geopolitical events that have increased both countries' commitment to the Union State.
The Union State's military doctrine declares that any aggression against either member is aggression against both, which would call for "appropriate measures" to be taken "using all the forces and means" at the countries' disposal to neutralize the threat.
Read: Russian-Belarusian joint military group kicks off protection mission