AP and Reuters

Belarus says it shot down Ukrainian drone late last month


MOSCOW (Reuters) – Belarus, which is taking delivery of tactical nuclear weapons from its ally Russia, said on Thursday it had shot down a Ukrainian drone in a border region late last month.

The rare incident in Gomel region was reported by the Belarusian border guard service, which did not explain why it had not publicised it at the time.

Belarus allowed Russia to use its territory as one of the launchpads for the full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February last year, and has also let Moscow train soldiers at Belarusian bases.

The possibility that Belarus might directly enter the war has been a long-running concern for Ukraine. President Alexander Lukashenko said on Wednesday it would do so in the event of “full-scale aggression” against Belarus.

Lukashenko also said Belarus had started taking delivery of Russian tactical nuclear weapons, Moscow’s first such deployment outside Russian territory since the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union.

Russia will maintain control of the weapons, but Lukashenko has said they will act as a deterrent against potential aggressors.

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