Ukraine forces prepare for possible attack on Belarusian border

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Ukrainian forces person built a caller enactment of defences on the country’s antecedently unfortified bluish borderline with Belarus amid signs of different attack.

Russian forces invaded Ukraine done the Belarusian borderline successful February erstwhile they tried to seizure the capital, Kyiv.

On 10 May, Belarus’s service chief, Viktor Gulevich, announced the deployment of Belarusian peculiar forces and instrumentality successful effect to what helium described arsenic a “southern threat” from Ukraine and Nato. Belarus has been conducting subject drills its borderline with Ukraine since aboriginal May.

Belarusian President, Aleksandr Lukashenko, has been Russia’s closest state successful its warfare successful Ukraine. On Tuesday, Lukashenko urged the Russian-led subject alliance, the Collective Security Treaty Organisation, which met successful Moscow, to stay agreed connected Ukraine and accused the westbound of prolonging the conflict.

The Guardian was fixed entree to Ukraine’s borderline positions connected the information that it did not disclose the nonstop locations oregon the surnames of the Ukrainians serving.

In the forests on the Belarusian border, a Ukrainian territorial defence portion made up of fighters betwixt the ages of 19 and the mid-60s, is manning a web of trenches and positions constructed since the February invasion.

Before February, overmuch of Ukraine’s borderline with Belarus consisted of tiny kiosk-like checkpoints which Russian tanks broke done with ease. Two days aft the invasion, Ukraine closed each its borderline crossings with Belarus and Russia.

In their investigation of the menace from Belarus, the UK’s Ministry of Defence said past week that the beingness of Belarusian forces connected the borderline would astir apt forestall Ukraine from deploying enactment operations connected its Donbas front.

Ukrainian servicemen of the Territorial Defence Forces instrumentality     portion  successful  a grooming  exercise.
Ukrainian servicemen of the Territorial Defence Forces instrumentality portion successful a grooming exercise. Photograph: Gleb Garanich/Reuters

Armed with AK47s and a fewer twelve men per position, the fighters anticipation the Belarusian borderline volition not beryllium utilized by invading forces again.

“We’ll beryllium successful the frying pan,” joked Vova, a antheral who volunteered to combat successful the Donbas successful 2014 and was successful the Soviet army. Vova signed up to combat alongside his brother, Ihor, and his brother’s son, Maksym, connected the 2nd time of the war.

“They took the archetypal 500 men successful the queue that day, but determination were implicit 800 of us,” said Ihor, sat betwixt his member and lad astatine the makeshift barracks adjacent the border.

“I’ve got hypertension, he’s got hypertension, he’s connected insulin,” said Ihor, pointing astir the country astatine the middle-aged and pension-aged men. “And past the different portion of the portion is younger guys similar Maksym.”

Ihor and Maksym were moving connected a operation tract successful Kyiv connected the greeting of the invasion. They rushed backmost to the Zhytomyr region, wherever their household live, to motion up. Territorial defence units successful Ukraine are made up of radical who combat successful the aforesaid portion arsenic wherever they live.

The men and a fewer women successful the portion said immoderate of them knew each different from earlier the war. In astir each different case, determination is lone a fewer degrees of separation.

“In immoderate cases, it was like, ‘Oh, your grandma knows my grandfather, possibly we’re brothers’,” said Ihor, who added that warring among radical from his ain portion gave him a large consciousness of work and motivation. Sign up to First Edition, our escaped regular newsletter – each weekday greeting astatine 7am BST

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The portion said they bash not person the backmost up of dense artillery units, but that they were fortunate to person section geography connected their side. The miles-long constrictive roads that pb down from the borderline are surrounded by heavy forests which screen the deep, swampy ground.

“No 1 has ever managed to clasp this territory for that reason,” said Ihor, the unit’s subject property secretary, speaking astir battles astir the bluish borderline during the 2nd satellite war.