Belarus claims to have foiled Lithuanian drone strikes; Vilnius rejects his claims

A senior Belarusian security official said Thursday that the country had prevented attempted Lithuanian drone strikes targeting the Belarusian capital and its surrounding areas. Lithuania denied this claim.

Ivan Tertel, head of the Belarusian Committee for State Security (KGB). told a session of the People's Assembly of Belarus that his agency and others had recently carried out security operations “which made it possible to prevent attacks of combat drones from the territory of Lithuania against objects in Minsk and its suburbs.

He presented no evidence for this claim or provided any details. He also said “radicals” in Lithuania and Poland were producing drones to attack Belarus.


The All-Russian People's Assembly includes civil servants, members of local councils, trade unions and pro-government activists and operates alongside parliament.

Lithuanian army spokesman Gintautas Ciunis told reporters on Thursday that Tertel's claims were not true. “It's absurd; I can't think of another word,” Ciunis said.

The national flag of the Republic of Belarus

SAINT PETERSBURG, RUSSIA – 2023/11/02: The national flag of the Republic of Belarus as a participating country in the 12th Saint Petersburg International Gas Forum (SPIGF 2023). (Photo by Maksim Konstantinov/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

The Lithuanian Crisis Management Center said in a statement that the comments appeared aimed at a domestic audience in Belarus. He also believes that they could “be considered a continuous hostile provocation and informational attack against Lithuania, which has nothing to do with reality.”

Belarus is a close ally of Russia, which has deployed tactical nuclear weapons, missiles and troops in the country. Authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko has repeatedly boasted that Belarus would repel any attempt by Ukraine or NATO countries to attack it.

Even though Belarusian forces did not enter the war between Russia and Ukraine, the country was a springboard for Russian forces entering northern Ukraine.

Belarusian opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, exiled in Lithuania, said on Thursday that no one except Belarusian leaders had heard of a drone attack on Minsk. “It is possible that Lukashenko began to believe his own nonsense and disinformation,” Tsikhanouskaya added.

The Assembly on Thursday unanimously approved the new national security framework and military doctrine proposed by Lukashenko to regulate the use of Russian nuclear weapons. These, Lukashenko told delegates, will allow Belarus “to resist any aggressor and inflict irreparable damage.”

Political analysts say this is just rhetoric and does not indicate the Belarusian leader's intention to get involved in military conflicts.

“Lukashenko is increasing the level of his belligerent rhetoric in order to please the Kremlin and receive additional funds to fight the 'common Western threat,'” independent Belarusian analyst Valery Karbalevich told the AP.


“Belarus welcomed Russian nuclear weapons, changed its military doctrine and now expects payment from the Kremlin for this, and Lukashenko's loud statements should remind us of this,” he said.


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