Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko says his military has shot down missiles fired at his country from Ukraine and promised to respond “instantly” to any enemy attacks.
“We are being provoked,” Lukashenko was quoted as saying by state news agency Belta on Saturday.
“I must tell you that around three days ago, maybe more, they tried to strike military targets in Belarus from Ukraine.
“Thank God, our Pantsir anti-air systems intercepted all the missiles fired by the Ukrainian forces.”
The claim, which Lukashenko did not provide evidence for, came one week after Ukraine said missiles struck a border region from Belarus, a long-term Russian ally.
But the Belarusian president denied involvement in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, reiterating that there were no troops from his country fighting in what Moscow calls its “special military operation”.
“As I said more than a year ago, we do not intend to fight in Ukraine,” he said.
“We will only fight in one case. If you … enter our land, if you kill our people, then we will respond,” he added, threatening retaliation against “the decision-making centres” of Western capitals in the event of an attack on Belarus.
“Don’t touch us and we won’t touch you,” he warned.
Belarus has supported Russia’s military operation in Ukraine since it began on February 24 by acting as a rear base for Moscow’s forces.
Russian troops crossed the Belarusian border into Ukraine as they tried and failed to take the capital Kyiv.
Lukashenko is heavily dependent on Russia militarily and economically and relied on his neighbour’s support to stabilise his position when widespread protests broke out in 2020 after an election the Belarusian opposition say he stole.
Russian President Vladimir Putin announced last week that Moscow would deliver Iskander-M missiles capable of carrying nuclear weapons to Belarus “in the coming months”.