Ukrainian state border service says troops attacked from Belarus

The Ukrainian State Border Guard Service early Thursday said Russian troops attacked Ukraine from Belarus.

“At about 5:00 a.m., the state border of Ukraine in the area with the Russian Federation and the Republic of Belarus was attacked by Russian troops supported by Belarus,” the border service said, according to CNN.

The attacks occurred in the regions of Luhansk, Sumy, Kharkiv, Chernihiv and Zhytomyr, according to the border service cited by CNN. Theses areas are located on the eastern and northern borders of Ukraine.

Additionally, the border service said “the attack takes place from the Autonomous Republic of Crimea side,” according to CNN.

Artillery, heavy equipment and small arms were aimed at border units, border patrols and checkpoints, CNN reported.

A U.S. defense official told CNN that the Pentagon is following reports of troops entering Ukraine from Belarus. The source, however, told the network that it was unclear if the troops were strictly Russian or also Belarusian.

The Hill reached out to the Pentagon for more information.

Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a military operation in Ukraine early Thursday morning Moscow time amid heightened tensions between the two countries. Russia in recent weeks had amassed up to 190,000 troops at the Ukrainian border, stoking fear in the U.S. and allied nations that Moscow was planning an invasion of Ukraine.

Putin on Thursday claimed that the operation was meant to protect eastern Ukraine from what he called a “regime.”

Reports of troops entering Ukraine from Belarus comes days after the two countries extended their military drills, which were set to end on Sunday. Belarusian Defense Minister Viktor Khrenin said military leaders from his country and Russia decided to “continue checking” joint force readiness because of an “increase in military action” near the Belarusian border.

He also said the decision to continue the exercises was made in response to the “aggravation of the situation” in eastern Ukraine.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Sunday said the continuation of exercises made him more concerned about a potential Russian invasion of Ukraine.

President Biden late Wednesday evening called Russia’s attack on Ukraine an “unprovoked and unjustified attack.”

Tags Antony Blinken Joe Biden Vladimir Putin

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