Belarus Now Claims S-300 Missile Interception Was No Accident – After summoning the Ukrainian ambassador to Minsk on Thursday, when Belarusian officials confirmed that a Ukrainian S-300 surface-to-air missile was shot down over Belarusian airspace, officials now say that they don’t believe the missile entered their territory accidentally.
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Speaking to Russian state-owned news outlet Sputnik Belarus, Belarus’ Security Council Secretary Alexander Volfovich suggested that Ukraine may have deliberately targeted the rocket at Belarusian airspace.
“Kyiv is striking to provoke a regional conflict by any means,” Volfovich said. “An example of this is the recent incident with the destruction of the Ukrainian S-300 missile.”
The Belarusian official went on to say there is “little reason to believe” that the rocket entered Belarusian airspace “by accident.”
“By all appearances, it seems some plan was being realized here.”
The shocking statement constitutes a significant escalation in the conflict and could now become the grounds for a response from Belarus.
Throughout the conflict, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has proven supportive of the Russian regime and its military campaign in Ukraine.
However, he has not gone as far as deploying his own troops to Ukraine.
With Belarusian and Russian troops already conducting joint training exercises in Belarusian airspace, it’s not impossible that Belarusian forces will engage in new ways in the conflict.
When the strike occurred on Thursday, Brest military commissar Oleg Konovalov played down the incident and compared it to the downing of the Ukrainian S-300 in Poland in November.
The incident on Polish soil resulted in the deaths of two civilians, though all Western leaders recognized it as a mistake.
Konovalov told the BelTA news agency that local people have “absolutely nothing to worry about” and added that “unfortunately, these things happen.”
The delayed suggestion that the incident in Belarus was deliberate could indicate that Russian officials had some part to play in the dramatic change of position.
After Russian officials admitted to firing more than 80 missiles at Ukrainian cities on Thursday, causing significant damage to residential buildings and energy infrastructure, Moscow now claims to be concerned about a Ukrainian missile flying into Belarusian airspace.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov claimed that the incident “causes extreme concern, not only for us but for our Belarusian partners.”
Peskov also said that Russian and Belarusian military officials are in “constant dialogue and constant coordination.”
However, the government in Minsk has still not officially changed its position on refraining from participating actively in the conflict.
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Jack Buckby is 19FortyFive’s Breaking News Editor.