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UK summons Belarusian envoy over Minsk’s ‘support’ to Russian intervention in Ukraine

The British government on Friday summoned the ambassador of Belarus over its “assistance” in Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine.

“The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office has summoned the Belarusian ambassador, Maxim Yermalovich, to protest Belarus’ assistance to Russia with its military invasion of Ukraine,” a statement from the Foreign Office said.

Yermalovich met with Minister for Europe and North America James Cleverly.

Cleverly reaffirmed the UK’s support for Ukraine and its struggle for independence, sovereignty and its territorial integrity.

“The UK condemns the role Belarus is playing in the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Belarus must stop supporting Russia’s illegal and unprovoked actions,” Cleverly said.

The minister reminded that Moscow’s military intervention in Ukraine would come at a severe cost to Russia’s economy.

The sanctions target Russian banks, businesspeople, politicians as well as Moscow’s ability to conduct trade and business in UK’s markets.

“The UK’s sanctions will also apply to those Belarusian individuals, entities and organisations who have aided and abetted this reckless aggression,” a government statement said.

“Belarus needs to desist from its support to Russia and respect Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty in line with its international obligations. We must be united against Russian aggression,” Cleverly said.

Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine entered its second day on Friday, with the latest reports indicating that Russian troops were heading toward the capital Kyiv from several directions.

Russian President Vladimir Putin had ordered the military intervention on Thursday, just days after recognizing two separatist-held enclaves in eastern Ukraine.

He claimed that Moscow had no plan to occupy the neighboring country, but wanted to “demilitarize” and “denazify” Ukraine.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy accused Russia of trying to install a puppet government and said Ukrainians will defend their country against Russian aggression.

Tensions started escalating late last year when Ukraine, the US, and its allies accused Russia of amassing nearly 150,000 troops on the border with Ukraine.

They claimed Russia was preparing to invade its western neighbor, allegations consistently rejected by Moscow.

 

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