Ukraine conflict faces ‘inflection point’ – Belarus
A pivotal moment in the Russia-Ukraine conflict will occur in the coming months, Ivan Tertel, the head of the State Security Committee of Belarus (KGB), has said. Russia launched its military operation in the neighboring country in February.
“If the Russian Federation properly conducts mobilization, ensures that its military force [involved in the fighting with Ukraine] has equipment and advanced weapons, combat will enter a key phase,” Tertel said during a briefing on Tuesday, as quoted by the news agency BelTA.
“According to our assessment, the inflection point will come between November and February,” he added.
The statement comes after Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko announced that his country had begun forming a joint military force with Russia. He cited tensions with NATO as the reason for the move.
Russia stepped up strikes on major Ukrainian cities on Monday, hitting targets in Kiev for the first time in months. President Vladimir Putin said that the strikes on military command centers and energy infrastructure were retaliation for “terrorist attacks” on Russian soil.
Moscow previously accused Kiev of orchestrating a truck bombing on Saturday that damaged the only bridge connecting Crimea with mainland Russia.
Putin announced a partial mobilization last month with the goal of calling up 300,000 reservists. Last week, Army General Sergey Surovikin was appointed to command all Russian forces involved in the conflict.
US President Joe Biden, meanwhile, authorized an additional $625 million in military aid for Ukraine last week. The EU also pledged to continue supporting Kiev, with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen stating that the bloc would back Ukraine for as long as necessary.
Russia sent troops into Ukraine on February 24, citing Kiev’s failure to implement the Minsk agreements, designed to give the regions of Donetsk and Lugansk special status within the Ukrainian state. The protocols, brokered by Germany and France, were first signed in 2014. Former Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko has since admitted that Kiev’s main goal was to use the ceasefire to buy time and “create powerful armed forces.”
In February 2022, the Kremlin recognized the Donbass republics as independent states and demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join any Western military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked