Ukraine-Russia War: Belarus closes off parts of border region

Russian President Vladimir Putin visited Belarus on Monday, raising fears in Kyiv of increased coordination between the two allies amid the invasion of Ukraine.

 Service members of the 38th Brest Separate Guards Air Assault Brigade of the Belarusian armed forces drive vehicles during a snap inspection of troops' combat readiness at an unknown location in Belarus, in this handout picture released December 13, 2022. (photo credit: DMITRY BELETSKY/DEFENCE MINISTRY OF BELARUS/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS)
Service members of the 38th Brest Separate Guards Air Assault Brigade of the Belarusian armed forces drive vehicles during a snap inspection of troops' combat readiness at an unknown location in Belarus, in this handout picture released December 13, 2022.
(photo credit: DMITRY BELETSKY/DEFENCE MINISTRY OF BELARUS/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS)

Belarus issued a ruling on Wednesday temporarily restricting access to parts of the southeastern Gomel region that borders Ukraine and Russia.

The government said on its website it would "temporarily restrict entry, temporary stay and movement in the border zone within the Loevsky, Braginsky and Khoiniki districts of the Gomel region."

Russian forces used Belarus as a launch pad for their abortive attack on the Ukrainian capital Kyiv in February, and there has been growing Russian and Belarusian military activity in recent months.

The government did not indicate how long the restriction would last but said that it did not apply officials, and workers and residents of those areas.

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko gestures at a map which seems to represent the Russian invasion of Ukraine at a meeting of the Belarusian Security Council (credit: Screenshot/Video from Press Service of the President of the Republic of Belarus)Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko gestures at a map which seems to represent the Russian invasion of Ukraine at a meeting of the Belarusian Security Council (credit: Screenshot/Video from Press Service of the President of the Republic of Belarus)

Belarus's role in the Russia-Ukraine War

Belarus began staging what it called anti-sabotage drills in the Gomel region on Oct. 11. Russian servicemen arrived in Belarus four days later to join a regional grouping that the neighbors have set up.

Russian President Vladimir Putin visited Belarus on Monday, his first trip to the country since 2019, raising fears in Kyiv that he intends to pressure Russia's fellow former Soviet ally to open a new invasion front against Ukraine.