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Belarus says Ukrainian military helicopters violated the border

The Belarusian border marker is seen on the border with Belarus and Poland in the Volyn . region
A column of Belarusian border signs is seen at the border with Belarus and Poland, in the Volyn region, Ukraine November 16, 2021. REUTERS / Gleb Garanich

December 4, 2021

MOSCOW (Reuters) -Belarus on Saturday accused a Ukrainian military helicopter of flying over its border during a maneuver and flying one kilometer (0.62 miles) into Belarusian territory.

The state border service released a statement and a video of what it said was a Ukrainian helicopter flying over a snowy and wooded area at a checkpoint. A spokesman for Ukraine’s state border service said the allegation was untrue.

The allegation comes amid growing tensions in the region, with Ukraine and its NATO allies accusing Russia of sending tens of thousands of troops close to Ukraine’s border with what they say could be a threat. is to prepare for an attack. Russia denies any such plans.

“Ukrainian Mi-8 military helicopter at an altitude of about 100 meters crossed the state border and flew to a depth of 1 km into the territory of Belarus. The Ukrainian side has been informed of this incident,” the Belarusian statement said.

A spokesman for Ukraine’s border service denied the allegation.

Spokesman Andriy Demchenko said: “As part of strengthening border protection with Belarus, aviation is used for border surveillance, but there is no violation of national borders by aviation.” .

Relations between Belarus and Ukraine have plummeted since last year, when Russia sided with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko in mass street protests and Lukashenko in turn became more vocal in supporting Moscow against the back to Ukraine.

Ukraine has accused Belarus and Russia of causing a migrant crisis on the EU’s eastern border with Belarus, trapping thousands of people in icy conditions.

Lukashenko denies orchestrating the migration crisis and his government has promised an “asymmetrical” response to a new round of sanctions imposed on Minsk on Thursday.

He also signaled that Belarus could side with Russia in the military conflict with Ukraine and he recognized Crimea – territory Russia annexed from Ukraine in 2014 – as Russia’s.

(Reporting by Tom Balmforth in Moscow and Natalia Zinets in Kyiv; editing by Matthias Williams and Christina Fincher)

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DUSTIN JONES

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