Ukraine conflict: Belarus 'balancing support for Russia’s invasion' as MoD offer key update

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) have offered an update on Belarus and their stance on the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

It comes following reports that Russia may have lost a third of the invasion force it sent into Ukraine as its offensive continues to struggle in the face of stiff resistance.

In an update of Bealrusian troop movements near the Ukraine border, the MoD said in an update: “Following exercise activity earlier this month, Belarus has announced the deployment of special operations forces along the Ukraine border, as well as air defence, artillery and missile units to training ranges in the west of the country.

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"The presence of Belarusian forces near the border will likely fix Ukrainian troops, so they cannot deploy in support of operations in the Donbas.

"Despite early speculation, to date Belarusian forces have not been directly involved in the conflict.

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"However, Belarusian territory was used as a staging post for Russia’s initial advance on Kyiv and Chernihiv. Russia has also launched air sorties and missile strikes from Belarus.

"Belarusian President Lukashenko is likely balancing support for Russia’s invasion with a desire to avoid direct military participation with the risk of Western sanctions, Ukrainian retaliation and possible dissatisfaction in the Belarusian military.”

Ukrainian soldiers ride on a light armored multi-purpose towing vehicle near Bakhmut, eastern Ukraine, on May 15, 2022, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. (Photo by Yasuyoshi Chiba via Getty Images)

This weekend, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said the besieged city of Mariupol will host the Eurovision Song Contest following the country’s victory on Saturday night.

The winners made an impassioned plea to help fighters still in the Azovstal steel plant in the city, and Mr Zelensky said “one day” the contest will be held “in a Ukrainian Mariupol”.

Addressing the social media post from Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky who said next year Ukraine will host Eurovision, Psyuk added: "If the president said it's going to happen, then it's going to happen.

"We will host Eurovision in a newly rebuilt and happy Ukraine.

"He congratulated us and he is happy we won."

Meanwhile, Finland’s president and government have announced the Nordic country intends to apply for membership of Nato, paving the way for the 30-member Western military alliance to expand amid Russia’s war in Ukraine.

President Sauli Niinisto and Prime Minister Sanna Marin made the announcement at a joint news conference at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki on Sunday.