Zelensky tells Belarusians they are being drawn into Russia's war against Ukraine

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Volodymyr Zelensky
Volodymyr Zelensky

Read also: With missiles hitting Kyiv, Russia wants to bring Belarus into war – CIT analyst

"The Kremlin has already decided everything for you – your lives are worthless to them," the president said in a video address.

"But you are not slaves or cannon fodder. You shouldn't die. And you are able not to let anyone decide for you what awaits you next."

Read also: Russia increases its military footprint in Belarus, Ukrainian intelligence says

Zelensky said he was convinced that "the people of Belarus support Ukraine, not the war." According to him, that is why the Russian leadership wants to involve the Belarusians in its full-scale invasion and "sow hatred between us."

"A lot depends on ordinary people of Belarus now," he said.

"I know you're able not to take part in this war. Your lives belong only to you, not to someone in the Kremlin."

Read also: Belarus dictator under pressure to join Vladimir Putin’s failing Ukraine War

Zelensky said that Ukraine would defend itself on all fronts, with any weapons, and would respond to any attack.

"But anyone in any country, including Belarus, can contribute to the protection of life," he added.

According to the Air Force Command, the Russians launched more than 50 missiles on Ukraine during the night of June 25. During this massive attack, for the first time they used Tu-22M3 long-range attack aircraft from the territory of Belarus and resumed missile strikes using Iskander systems. Targets in Ukraine's Lviv, Zhytomyr and Chernihiv oblasts came under fire.

Ukrainian intelligence says that the missile strikes from the territory of Belarus are Russian provocations designed to involve the country in the Kremlin’s war against Ukraine. On the same day, Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko met with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, in St. Petersburg. After the missile strikes on the Ukrainian capital city of Kyiv on June 26, intelligence said that Russia was increasing its military presence in Belarus.

Ukraine's Defense Ministry said on June 21 that up to 4,000 Belarusian troops and some groups of Russian troops had been deployed on the border with Ukraine.

Read also: Interview with NSDC Secretary Danilov on Russia, Belarus, and the war

In late May, the Belarusian Defense Ministry announced that the so-called "people's militia" would be set up on Lukashenko's instructions.

The Belarusian army began training on "combat readiness" on June 7. Also, the Lukashenko regime, which seized power in Belarus, began training for the "transition from peacetime to wartime," according to Ukrainian intelligence.

Belarus announced on June 22 the start of "mobilization exercises" near the border with Ukraine.

Invading Russian forces and tanks attacked northern Ukraine from the territory of Belarus. Russia deployed missile systems there to attack the cities of Ukraine. Russia uses Belarusian airfields for its military aircraft, Belarusian infrastructure and hospitals, as well as transporting its weapons and military equipment through Belarusian territory.