Will Belarus Use Ukraine Missile Strike Against Them? – The Belarusian Ministry of Defense announced on Thursday that its military took down a Ukrainian S-300 missile that entered Belarusian airspace in the Brest border region.
The incident took place at roughly 10 am local time.
The announcement came after the state-run BelTA news agency reported that a Ukrainian missile had accidentally fallen onto Belarusian territory during Russia’s latest round of missile bombardment across Ukrainian cities that took place on the same day.
No casualties were recorded, but fragments of the intercepted missile were discovered just 66 meters from a residential property.
One local person told journalists that they heard a “massive noise” outside and immediately thought it was an aircraft flying nearby.
“I thought aircraft were flying, I thought it was war,” a local person said.
Belarus Summons Ukrainian Ambassador
Anatoly Glaz, a spokesperson for the Belarusian Foreign Ministry, confirmed on Thursday that the Ukrainian ambassador had been summoned to receive a formal protest over the incident.
While Belarusian officials played down the incident and insisted that local people are safe, the foreign ministry spokesman said that the Belarusian government “views this incident as extremely serious.”
“We demanded that the Ukrainian side conduct a thorough investigation and hold those responsible to account and take comprehensive measures to prevent the recurrence of such incidents in the future,” Glaz said.
Olek Konovalov, the military commissar for the southwestern region of Brest, published a video on social media and promised local people that the incident was not something to be worried about.
Ukraine denied that the rocket was fired by Ukrainian troops, though most Western military analysts and intelligence officials suggested that the rocket was fired in an effort to intercept incoming Russian missiles.
The fact that both incidents occurred on the same days that Russia launched new missile bombardments in Ukraine suggests that they were likely both of Ukrainian origin.
While NATO countries took the Poland incident very seriously, Belarus is likely to be much less forgiving than Poland and Western allies given the close relationship between the country’s dictator, President Alexander Lukashenko, and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
What Belarus will do next is anyone’s guess.
Still, given the ongoing joint training exercises in Belarus, involving both Russian and Belarusian soldiers, it’s not hard to imagine the incident being used against Ukraine somehow.
Even if the rocket landing in Belarusian territory was an accident, and even if it was the result of Ukrainian forces attempting to intercept Russian rockets, it’s likely that the incident will be used in some form of propaganda designed to portray Ukraine as aggressors.
That being said, Lukashenko himself has repeatedly called for the war to come to an end sooner rather than later – and a near-miss on Belarusian soil could prompt Lukashenko to engage in further discussions with Putin on the conflict and Russia’s intentions.
Jack Buckby is 19FortyFive’s Breaking News Editor.