Ukraine army hold drills near Belarus border

STORY: Ukraine fears Russia could build up forces on the territory of its Belarusian ally before striking in the northwest or northeast of Ukraine or even trying to drive towards Kyiv as it did when it invaded last February.

By reopening a northern front, Russia would stretch Kyiv's forces, which have been focused for months on bloody battles raging in the east and south, forcing it to divert forces to the north.

Despite bringing colossal pressure onto the eastern town of Soledar in recent days, Russian forces have appeared on the back foot on the battlefield for months and a sudden assault from Belarus would mark an astonishing change of dynamic.

Serhiy Nayev, commander of Ukraine's Joint Forces, said Ukraine had enough forces to defend the current threat and would match any increases on the other side of the border in kind if it needed to.

"At the moment, we don't observe such actions. The (troops in Belarus) are in the same state as they were in December," he added.