There has been growing concerns that Belarus – a staunch backer of Moscow – could be used as a staging post to attack Ukraine from the north after increasing military activity in the country and fresh transfer of Russian troops there, Reuters reports.
Unofficial Telegram channels monitoring military activity in Belarus reported late on Saturday that some 1,400-1,600 Russian troops arrived from Russia into the north-eastern city of Vitebsk in Belarus over the past two days. Reuters was not able to independently verify the information.
Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Wednesday that Russia is planning a major new offensive. The Pentagon said on Friday that Vladimir Putin’s aim of seizing Ukrainian territory has not changed, even if his military continues to suffer blows.
Following the self-declared ceasefire, the Kremlin said Moscow would press ahead with what it calls a “special military operation” in Ukraine, an invasion that it launched on 24 February last year and that Kyiv and its western allies call an unprovoked aggression to grab land.
The Russian state Tass agency quoted Putin’s first deputy chief of staff, Sergei Kiriyenko, as saying:
The tasks set by the president (Putin) for the special military operation will still be fulfilled.
And there definitely will be a victory.
Last Updated: 08:40 Sunday, 08 January 2023