Moscow/Minsk: As Russia fails to inflict quick defeat upon Ukraine after four days of fierce hostilities, President Vladimir Putin is about to pull his Belarusian ally, Aleksandr Lukashenko, into the war, an Ukrainian newspaper reported on Monday.
Amid many speculations, multiple sources say the decision has been made and the first Ilyushin Il-76 transport aircraft is likely to take off carrying Belarusian paratroopers to be deployed against Ukraine, the Kyiv Independent reported.
Rumours regarding the official Belarusian involvement in the war started circulating on February 27, the fourth day of Russia’s all-out war on Ukraine, following a report presented to diplomatic circles by unnamed Belarusian opposition journalists.
The message suggested that Belarusian troops might be deployed to the Kyiv or the Zhytomyr areas in assistance to the Russian military.
A former high-ranking Belarusian airborne commander, Valeriy Sakhashik, in a video address, urged all Belarusian paratroopers not to obey unlawful orders that would throw them into a war against a friendly nation.
Several thousand Belarusian citizens rallied against the war across the country on February 27. Ukraine’s presidential adviser Oleksiy Arestovych has said that numerous indications suggested that the Belarusian military was being put on alert.