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30 Dec, 2022 09:44

Minsk comments on Ukrainian missile 'provocation'

Kiev’s forces may have fired into Belarusian airspace as a provocation, its air defense chief has said
Minsk comments on Ukrainian missile 'provocation'

An incident in which a Ukrainian missile was downed in Belarusian air space may have been a deliberate provocation, a senior Minsk military official has said. The projectile was reportedly intercepted by Belarusian air defense forces on Thursday.

Kirill Kazantsev, who commands the Belarusian air defenses, said in a video statement that “questions remained” about the nature of the episode.

The commander explained that the possibility of an intentional provocation by Ukraine was one of two considered by Minsk. The other option was an accident stemming from weapon malfunction or the poor skills of Ukrainian troops, he said.

The missile was fired by an S-300 anti-aircraft system and was shot down by Belarus over the bordering Ivanovo district in the Brest Region, the country’s Defense Ministry previously reported.

The incident happened amid a reported Russian missile barrage directed at targets in Ukraine. Kiev’s air defense fires have missed the mark on several other occasions, with neighboring nations affected as a consequence.

In mid-November a missile hit a Polish border village, killing two residents. Kiev claimed that it originated from Russia, but Polish authorities confirmed it to be an S-300 missile that was “most likely” fired by the Ukrainian military.

Similar incidents occurred in Moldova in late October and early December, though neither resulted in casualties. Chisinau declined to identify the projectiles involved in either case.