Nuclear-capable missiles will be moved onto the doorstep of two NATO nations as Russia rewards its ally Belarus.
Russian leader Vladimir Putin’s announcement came on the same day Ukrainian officials said the first missile attack launched from Belarus struck Kyiv, according to Newsweek.
On Saturday, Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko, who met with Putin in St. Petersburg, Russia, criticized the “aggressive,” “confrontational” and “repulsive” policies of Lithuania and Poland, according to U.S. News and World Report.
Both countries are members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
Lukashenko said he sought a “symmetrical response” to what he claimed were nuclear-armed flights by the U.S.-led NATO alliance near Belarus’ borders.
Russia’s foreign ministry issued a summary of the Lukashenko-Putin meeting that said Russia will “transfer Iskander-M tactical missile systems to Belarus, which can use both ballistic and cruise missiles, both in conventional and nuclear versions.”
The Iskander-M is a mobile guided missile system. Its two guided missiles can hit targets 300 miles away and carry conventional or nuclear warheads, according to CNBC.
⚡️ Lithuania won’t agree to concessions on transit of Russian goods through neighboring Kaliningrad.
“Lithuania must and will maintain control over the goods transported through its territory,” said Lithuania’s President Gitanas Nausėda.
— The Kyiv Independent (@KyivIndependent) June 25, 2022
The Belarus government in “Minsk must be ready for anything, even the use of serious weaponry to defend our fatherland from Brest to Vladivostok,” Lukashenko said during a televised portion of the meeting, according to U.S. News and World Report.
Lukashenko said Lithuania’s action to enforce European union treaties and stop the flow of some goods to the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad was “a sort of declaration of war” and “unacceptable.”
Lithuania said only about 1 percent of the goods that are shipping into Kaliningrad are affected.
A record number of missiles was fired by Russia on Ukraine this night and morning: more than 60, according to the latest figures. Many were launched from the territory of Belarus. They targeted Kyiv, Lviv, Zhytomyr, Chernihiv, Khmelnytskyi, Dnipro, Mykolayiv, Kharkiv regions
— Olga Tokariuk (@olgatokariuk) June 25, 2022
Russian planes launched 44 missiles against Ukrainian cities last night from the skies above Belarus.
Let’s not forget Lukashenko’s involvement in Russia’s attacks against Ukraine.
The war has to end not only with a Russian military defeat, but also with regime change in Minsk pic.twitter.com/IpWPCXeYoM
— Visegrád 24 (@visegrad24) June 25, 2022
The missile attack from Belarus was characterized by the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine as “a massive missile and bomb attack,” according to Newsweek.
The statement claimed that “Russian bombers ‘worked’ directly from the territory of Belarus.”
“This is the first case of an air strike across Ukraine directly from the territory of Belarus. 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 statement said, according to Newsweek.
Russia used Belarus as a base for some of the troops that launched the war against Ukraine in late February.
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