Kyiv on Saturday accused Russia of officially dragging Minsk into the war after missiles were fired at Ukraine from within Belarus’ borders.
The Main Intelligence Agency of the Defense Ministry of Ukraine said “a mass rocket-bomb strike was launched” after 12 cruise missiles were fired from 6 planes.
Russia relied on Belarus in the lead-up to the invasion and after it first failed to take Kyiv as a base for its troops to resupply and regroup. But for the first time since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, missiles have been fired from within Belorussian territory.
The agency said the missiles were fired using Tu-22M3 warplanes, which are long-range supersonic jet bombers developed by Russia and first used during its war in Afghanistan in the 1980s.
According to the intelligence data, the bombers took off from the Shaikovka airbase roughly 190 miles southwest of Moscow. Russian forces then entered Belorussian airspace and fired upon Ukrainian targets roughly 30 miles from the Belorussian border before returning to Russia.
Another 24 missiles, also reportedly fired from within Belarus, were said to have hit Ukrainian military targets near Zhytomyr, an area less than 90 miles west of Kyiv, first reported Ukrainian news outlet Pravda.
It remains unclear what type of missiles were used or if Ukraine suffered any causalities in the Saturday strikes.
Areas surrounding Kyiv, Chernihiv and Sumy in Ukraine’s northern regions were targeted in the attacks, suggesting Russia is once again increasing its aggression outside eastern and southern Ukraine.
“Today’s shelling is directly related to the efforts of the Kremlin authorities to drag Belarus into the war in Ukraine as a direct participant,” the intelligence agency said in a Facebook post.
Ukraine has repeatedly asked Western nations to send more advanced warplanes to help it keep up with Russia’s advanced aerial bombardments.