Kyiv watches borders as Putin heads to Belarus earlier than Russian drills


Vladimir Putin heads to neighbouring Belarus on Monday for talks with Alexander Lukashenko, as Russian troops put together to conduct workouts there amid nerves in Kyiv that the nation might once more function a base for a renewed assault on Ukraine. 

President Volodymyr Zelensyy has mentioned Ukraine is prepared for all doable defence situations in opposition to Moscow and its ally. 

“Protecting our border, both with Russia and Belarus — is our constant priority,” Zelenskyy mentioned after a gathering on Sunday of Ukraine’s prime navy command. “We are preparing for all possible defence scenarios.”

Officials in Kyiv have warned for months that neighbouring Belarus — one in all Russia’s closest allies — might be a part of Russian forces and serve once more as a launching pad for a brand new assault to kind a second entrance within the months-long struggle. 

Belarus allowed its territory for use as a launchpad for Moscow’s February 24 invasion of Ukraine, however has not joined the preventing immediately. Lukashenko has mentioned repeatedly he has no intention of sending his nation’s troops into Ukraine.

The Kremlin describes the Russian president’s journey, his first to Belarus for 3 and a half years, as a broad “working visit”.

Russian troops that have been moved to Belarus in October will conduct battalion tactical workouts, the Russian Interfax news company reported, citing the Russian defence ministry.

Kyiv and surrounding areas got here underneath assault once more early on Monday, with the Ukrainian capital’s navy administration saying 9 Iranian-made Shahed drones have been shot down in Kyiv’s airspace.

“Air defence systems are at work in the region,” Oleksiy Kuleba, governor of the Kyiv area mentioned on Telegram. “Stay in shelters and safe places until the alarm is over. Take care of yourself and loved ones.”

Several loud blasts have been heard, nevertheless it was not instantly clear whether or not they have been air defence programs destroying the drones or drones hitting their targets.

Zelenskyy on Sunday once more referred to as for Western nations to beef up Ukraine’s air defences after weeks of Russian air strikes focused the nation’s vitality community as a freezing winter settles in.

The Ukrainian chief mentioned energy had been restored to a few million extra Ukrainians up to now 24 hours following an enormous missile assault on electrical energy infrastructure on Friday that killed three folks and broken 9 energy amenities. That meant 9 million Ukrainians had been reconnected over the weekend, he added.

Zelenskyy advised Ukrainians the armed forces have been holding agency within the city of Bakhmut – scene of the fiercest preventing within the nation for a lot of weeks as Russia makes an attempt to advance in japanese Ukraine’s Donetsk area.

“The battlefield in Bakhmut is critical,” he mentioned. “We control the town even though the occupiers are doing everything so that no undamaged wall will remain standing.”

Denis Pushilin, Russian-installed administrator of the portion of the Donetsk area managed by Moscow, mentioned that Ukrainian forces shelled a hospital within the Donetsk metropolis, killing one individual and injuring a number of others.

The battlefield accounts couldn’t instantly be verified.


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