Zelensky visits Ukraine-Belarus border to see defensive preparations

Olga Voitovych in Kyiv

On his visit to Ukraine’s northwest border, shared with Poland and Belarus, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky surveyed the defense preparations that are underway.

“To repel a possible enemy invasion from the territory of Belarus, engineering barriers, fortifications and remote video surveillance systems are being built up,” a readout from Zelensky’s office said.

“From the position of the observation post, it was demonstrated how remote video surveillance systems are used to monitor the border line around the clock,” it added.

Zelensky used the occasion to praise the role of the State Border Service in defending both the border and the city of Bakhmut.

“I know how strongly you stood there, holding Bakhmut. I would like to thank you and your brothers-in-arms,” he said.

This visit comes as Zelensky continues a tour of Ukraine’s front lines. On Tuesday, he paid a surprise visit to Avdiivka, a town in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, that is surrounded on three sides by Russian forces.

Some background: Tensions have been mounting at the 1,000-kilometer border between Ukraine and Belarus, a country that has played a key role in aiding Russia’s attack. Kyiv has closed all border crossings to Belarus out of concern Belarus could be used for a further invasion by Russia — just as it was used as one of its launch pads for the invasion of Ukraine in 2022. Joint military drills over the past year between Belarus and Russia have contributed to concerns that Belarusian troops could join the Kremlin’s forces in Ukraine.

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