Ukrainian missile lands in Belarus, believed to be air defense rocket

Investigators launch probe of cause; no initial reports of injuries; authorities said to suspect missile either deviated from course or was shot down by Belarusian defense systems

Illustrative photo of a Russian S-300 air defense missile. (photo credit: AP/File)
Illustrative photo of a Russian S-300 air defense missile. (AP)

Belarus said a Ukrainian missile fell on its territory on Thursday, raising fears of the conflict spilling over, with the Moscow ally sending investigators to establish the cause of the incident.

President Alexander Lukashenko “was immediately informed,” said a statement posted on a Telegram channel close to the presidency.

It said an S-300 missile from Ukrainian territory landed between 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. local time (0700 GMT and 0800 GMT), but gave no location. The Russian-made S-300 is an air defense missile in service with Ukraine.

According to two possible leads considered by the authorities, the missile either deviated from its trajectory or was shot down by Belarusian air defenses.

The statement said there was no information yet about possible injuries or casualties.

In November, a missile landed in a village in NATO member Poland and killed two people, also sparking concern the US-led alliance would be drawn into the conflict in Ukraine. Russia denied having fired the missile, while Warsaw said it was likely a Ukrainian air defense missile launched to intercept Russian attacks.

Russia had used Belarusian territory as a launching pad for its Ukraine offensive. Moscow’s February invasion of its neighbor has met stiff resistance from Ukraine, which is being backed by Western nations supplying weapons and resources.

In October, Belarus said it was establishing a joint regional force with Moscow, with several thousand Russian servicemen arriving in the ex-Soviet country.

The move has fueled concern Minsk could also send troops to Ukraine.

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