Belarus has announced the deployment of special operations forces along its border with Ukraine, as well as air defense units, artillery and missiles at training ranges in the west of the country.

This was announced by the British Ministry of Defense in the latest update of the Defense Intelligence on the situation in Ukraine, reports Telegrafi.

The presence of Belarusian forces near the border is likely to "block" Ukrainian troops so that they can not be deployed in support of operations in the Donbas.

Latest Defense Intelligence update on the situation in Ukraine - 16 May 2022

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However, Belarusian forces have not been directly involved in the conflict to date, despite the country being used as a base for Russia's initial advance on Kiev and Chernihiv - with Russia also launching air strikes and rocket attacks from Belarus.

According to the British ministry, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko is likely to balance support for the Russian occupation with a desire to avoid direct military involvement with the risk of Western sanctions, Ukrainian retaliation and possible resentment in the Belarusian military.