The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense claimed on Sunday that Russia was planning a false-flag attack on a major nuclear power plant in Belarus to involve the country in its war against Ukraine.
The Ministry’s intelligence agency said in a press release that Russian special forces are planning “multiple terrorist attacks” across Belarus and are targeting critical infrastructure near the borders of the European Union and Ukraine, including the Ostrovets nuclear power plant near the Lithuanian border.
“All of this should accelerate the involvement of the Belarusian army in the war in Ukraine,” said the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense, “and to create the necessary public opinion for the Kremlin in Belarusian society.”
Ukrainian intelligence also claimed that Ukrainian citizens or members of NATO countries wear Belarusian military uniforms and were then blamed for the attack.
The Pentagon said in a statement that it was closely monitoring the conflict but would “not speculate about hypothetical situations.”
CNNBreakingNews has reached out to the Russian embassy in Washington for comment.
The allegation came as Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, which has been controlled by Russian forces since March, was shaken by shelling over the weekend, with Kiev and Moscow blaming it, Reuters reported.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a video address to NATO leaders on Monday: “We all need guaranteed protection against Russian sabotage at nuclear facilities.”
The US-based think tank Institute for the Study of War reported in an assessment this week that it is unlikely that Belarus will invade Ukraine. He noted that the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces did not observe any military formations from Belarus.
In October, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko announced the deployment of Belarusian troops together with Russian soldiers near the border with Ukraine.
The joint task force reportedly deployed around 9,000 Russian troops on the Belorussian border.
Belarus also served as a venue for Russia’s intervention in the early stages of the war and remains an important ally of the Kremlin.
According to a recent update from the General Staff of Ukraine, Belarus continues to provide Russia with infrastructure, territory and airspace, and “armed forces of the Russian Federation fly in the airspace of the Republic of Belarus almost every day.”
Russia suffered heavy losses in the war and was forced to withdraw from the city of Kherson in the south this month with a major victory for Ukraine.
— Updated at 3:10 PM