After reports that a Ukrainian air defense missile had fallen on the territory of Belarus, the Kyiv Ministry of Defense offered to cooperate in the investigation of the accident.
On Thursday evening, the Ukrainian ministry broadcast a statement saying it was ready for an objective investigation into the incident.
In Minsk, state media earlier reported that a Ukrainian S300 air defense missile fell on Belarusian territory on Thursday morning.
If true, it would be similar to the incident last November when a missile hit Polish territory.
The Defense Ministry in Kyiv also referred to the recent wave of Russian missile attacks across Ukraine on Thursday, saying that provocation by the terrorist state Russia cannot be ruled out.
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has been briefed on the incident.
Shortly thereafter, the Belarusian Foreign Ministry summoned Ukraine’s ambassador to Minsk.
While Belarus is not actively participating in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Lukashenko has allowed Russian forces to use military bases in his country to launch attacks on Ukraine.
There are great fears in Ukraine that Russia might launch a new attack from Belarus, and an incident such as the fall of an air defense missile could be used as a pretext by Minsk and Moscow.
In turn, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky acknowledged that most regions of his country suffer from power outages, but said that the damage would have increased without a heroic air defense, after the entire Ukraine was exposed to a barrage of Russian missiles.
Zelensky said in a video speech on Thursday evening that air defenses in central, southern, eastern and western Ukraine had repelled 54 Russian missiles and 11 drones during one of the largest Russian air strikes since the war began in February.
Zelensky added that areas where power loss was widespread include the capital Kyiv, Odessa and Kherson in the south and the surrounding areas and the area around Lviv near the western border with Poland.
“But this is nothing compared to what could have happened without our heroic anti-aircraft and air defense forces,” he said.
Air raid sirens sounded across Ukraine, and emergency workers gathered on the wreckage of apartment buildings in Kyiv destroyed by an explosion and smoke from falling missiles billowing into the sky.
Officials had earlier said more than 120 rockets were fired during Thursday’s attack.
The Ukrainian Defense Ministry said in a statement that more than 18 residential buildings and 10 basic infrastructure facilities were destroyed in the recent attacks.
Russian air strikes in the past few months targeting energy infrastructure have left millions without electricity and heating in often frigid temperatures.
Britain said on Friday it had given Ukraine more than 1,000 metal detectors and 100 bomb-defusing equipment to help clear minefields, the latest military support Kyiv has received in the conflict with Russia.
“Russia’s use of landmines and the targeting of civilian infrastructure underscores the appalling cruelty of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion,” British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said in a statement.
“This latest package of UK support will help Ukraine safely clear land and buildings while reclaiming its territory,” he added.
The British Defense Ministry said metal detectors, made by German company Fallon, can help troops secure roads by helping to remove explosive hazards, while bomb disposal equipment can defuse unexploded ordnance.
Wallace said on Thursday that Britain would allocate 2.3 billion pounds ($2.77 billion) in military aid to Ukraine in 2023, matching the amount it gave this year.