Ukraine’s Security Service (SBU) on Friday accused Russia of preparing to stage a false flag attack on the Mozyr oil refinery in Belarus to blame Ukrainian saboteurs as part of an effort to drag Minsk into the war in Ukraine.
The attack, he said in a statement on the Telegram app, would be carried out by military and intelligence forces sent by Moscow to Belarus disguised as Wagner mercenaries who were exiled after staging a mutiny in Russia in June.
“Russia is considering accusing Ukraine of what it has done in order to try again to drag Minsk into a full-scale war against our state,” it said in a statement, without providing details. of evidence.
He said his claims were based on information obtained from multiple sources, including a captured Russian serviceman.
Belarus is a close ally of the Kremlin, and forces from Moscow used Belarusian territory as a staging ground for their abortive route to the Ukrainian capital of Kiev at the start of their full-scale February 2022 invasion.
An oil refinery located on a branch of the Druzhba oil pipeline in Mozyr. Ukraine’s security service said the attack on the refinery would be carried out by military and intelligence forces sent by Moscow to Belarus disguised as Wagner mercenaries.
Pictured: Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko. Belarus is a close ally of the Kremlin, and forces from Moscow used Belarusian territory as a staging ground for their abortive route to the Ukrainian capital of Kiev at the start of their full-scale February 2022 invasion.
But the Minsk troops did not take part in the war.
Fighters from Wagner, a group of Russian mercenaries, launched a mutiny against the Russian defense establishment in June and some of its fighters have since moved to Belarus as part of a deal.
The leaders of NATO members Poland and Lithuania on Thursday warned of “provocations” and “sabotage actions” from neighboring Belarus by members of the Wagner mercenary group, days after two Belarusian helicopters entered Polish airspace.
“Our response to the provocation is to increase the size of the Polish army on the country’s eastern border by redeploying troops from the west,” Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak said.
“According to applicable law, soldiers in a specific situation may use weapons. They are not defenseless.
Pictured: Yevgeny Prigozhin. Fighters from the Wagner mercenary group launched a mutiny against the Russian defense establishment in June and some of its fighters have since moved to Belarus as part of a deal.
A flame burning natural gas is seen at an oil refinery on a branch of the Druzhba oil pipeline (file photo)
Belarus shares large borders with Lithuania and Poland, which stand together with Ukraine.
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said on Thursday that there were at least 4,000 members of the Wagner mercenary force in Belarus.
The Wagner group is “extremely dangerous”, Morawiecki said, and is “redeployed to NATO’s eastern flank to destabilize it”.
Poland said on Tuesday it was rushing troops to its eastern border after accusing Belarus of violating its airspace with military helicopters.
Local media reported on Tuesday that two helicopters displaying Belarusian flags were spotted in the Bialowieza region, just across the border from Belarus.
The Belarusian military has denied any such violation and accused NATO member Poland, one of Ukraine’s staunchest supporters in its conflict with Russia, of making up the accusation to justify reinforcement of its troops.
Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko previously taunted Poland over the presence of Russian Wagner mercenaries near their common border.
The Polish Defense Ministry said it was sending “additional forces and resources, including helicopter gunships”.
He said he had informed NATO of the border violation and that the Belarus charge d’affaires had been summoned to provide an explanation.
He also said the defense minister had ordered an increase in the number of troops on the Belarusian border, citing intensified “hybrid actions” by Russia and Belarus against Poland.
The Belarusian Defense Ministry, writing on Telegram, said Warsaw changed its mind about the incident “apparently after consulting its masters abroad”.