Russian Air Force attacking Ukraine from Belarus - CNN

A NATO technical director said the 'vast majority' of Russian aircraft they had seen entering Ukrainian airspace since the beginning of the war came from Belarus.

Russian MiG-29 fighter jets (photo credit: REUTERS/MAXIM SHEMETOV)
Russian MiG-29 fighter jets
(photo credit: REUTERS/MAXIM SHEMETOV)

The Russian Air Force has launched attacks against Ukraine from Belarusian territory, CNN reported on Friday, amid increasing speculation that Belarus may send its own forces to invade Ukraine.

NATO tactical director Denis Guillaume told CNN staff accompanying a NATO squadron that the radar aboard one of the planes detected "about a dozen Russian-made planes idling in Belarus just north of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant," hours before at least nine aircraft of Russian origin appeared on the radar flying into Ukrainian airspace from Belarus, in the direction of Kyiv.

In other possible signs, Russian planes fired at Belarus from Ukrainian airspace on Friday, in what the Ukrainian Air Force claimed was an attempt to create a pretext for a Belarusian invasion of Ukraine.

Simultaneously, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow, Ukraine's State Centre for Strategic Communications said, adding that the meeting may precede an attack against Ukraine by Belarus.

"According to preliminary data, Belarusian troops may be drawn into an invasion on March 11 at 21:00 (1900 GMT)," the center said.

A Russian MIG 29 flies at the Dubai Air show, November 20, 2005. (credit: REUTERS)A Russian MIG 29 flies at the Dubai Air show, November 20, 2005. (credit: REUTERS)

According to the CNN report, the NATO mission's technical director said that the "vast majority" of the Russian aircraft they had seen entering Ukrainian airspace since the beginning of the war came from Belarus, adding that on one occasion, NATO witnessed about 20 Russian fighter jets fly into Ukraine toward Kyiv from Belarus.

NATO troops told CNN that it was unclear whether Belarusian forces were actively involved in the war in Ukraine, as both countries use the same MiG-29 jets, but that the jets flying into Ukraine from Belarus were not Ukrainian.

Aaron Reich, Reuters and Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.