BELARUS: Belarus may send troops to help Russia invade Ukraine, according to a top US intelligence officer quoted by the Associated Press on Monday.
Belarus, a former Soviet republic, has been giving support for the invasion of Ukraine, including acting as a staging area for invading troops, but has not yet taken an active role.
Belarus has also been selected as the ‘neutral’ site for negotiations between Russia and Ukraine; a Russian delegation arrived in Gomel this morning and is awaiting the arrival of the Ukrainian delegation.
According to sources, the person is said to have firsthand knowledge of current American intelligence assessments, and that Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko’s decision on whether or not to enter the war hinges on the Russia-Ukraine talks in the coming days.
To discuss the sensitive material, the official spoke on the condition of anonymity. Ukraine and Russia agreed to meet on Sunday.
In reaction to what he called “aggressive words” from top NATO partners, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered his country’s nuclear forces to stay on full alert.
Following Moscow’s involvement, Putin accused Ukraine of squandering a “golden chance” for negotiation.
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine had previously expressed reservations about holding peace talks with a country that had been hostile to his country.
After speaking with his Belarussian counterpart, he changed his mind.
Last week, Russia stated that it is willing to talk about peace if Ukraine ‘lays down armaments.’
The Russian invasion of Ukraine has turned into a major global flashpoint, with Putin standing firm in the face of mounting sanctions against senior government officials and banks, including the cutting off of the latter from SWIFT, a global messaging system used by financial institutions around the world.
The Russian ruble has also plummeted as a result of the sanctions, falling over 30% amid a rush to buy US dollars. The sanctions have had an impact on global oil prices, with Brent crude surpassing $104 per barrel.
In response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the United Nations Security Council resolved to convene an extraordinary session of the General Assembly on Monday.
The meeting was approved by a vote of 11 to 1 with three abstentions, including India. Russia abstained from voting but was unable to exercise its veto because the issue was procedural.
This is the first time the General Assembly has conducted a meeting like this in decades, and it comes after a US-sponsored Security Council vote on Russia’s aggressiveness was thrown out after Russia, which was allowed to vote despite being the topic of the resolution, vetoed the motion. India, too, stayed away from it.
Also Read: UNSC Prepares for An Emergency Session, Biden Calls Allies