By Designate Trevelyan and Felix Gentle
(Reuters) -Russian President Vladimir Putin said Ukraine’s counteroffensive “has failed” as he hosted Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko, his shut ally, for talks in St Petersburg on Sunday.
“There isn’t this form of thing as a counteroffensive,” Russian facts agencies quoted Lukashenko as announcing.
Putin spoke back: “It exists, on the opposite hand it has failed.”
Ukraine started its prolonged-anticipated counter-offensive closing month nonetheless has to this level made handiest miniature beneficial properties towards wisely entrenched Russian forces who management bigger than a sixth of its territory after almost 17 months of battle.
U.S. Traditional Designate Milley, chair of the Joint Chiefs of Crew, said on Tuesday the Ukrainian force changed into “a ways from a failure” nonetheless would be prolonged, onerous and bloody.
A Telegram channel linked to Lukashenko quoted him as announcing in a jocular tone that fighters of Russia’s Wagner mercenary group who’re in fact coaching Belarus’s military were desirous to push across the border into NATO member Poland.
“The Wagner guys possess began to stress us – they’re looking for to dart west. ‘Let’s dart on a outing to Warsaw and Rzeszow’,” he changed into quoted as announcing. There changed into no indication that Lukashenko changed into severely appealing that conception.
On Thursday, the Belarusian defence ministry said Wagner fighters had began to coach Belarusian particular forces at a military fluctuate devoted about a miles from the Polish border.
Poland is transferring further troops in direction of the border with Belarus in step with the advent of the Wagner forces who relocated there after staging a transient-lived mutiny in Russia closing month.
Putin, in response, warned Poland on Friday that any aggression towards Belarus would be considered an attack on Russia. He said Moscow would spend all draw it has to react to any hostility in direction of Minsk.
Russia and Belarus are linked in a partnership called the “union enlighten” in which Moscow is by a ways the dominant participant. But Lukashenko has proved his usefulness to Putin since the February 2022 invasion of Ukraine, allowing Russia to spend his nation as a open pad before every little thing up of the battle.
He has attributable to this reality let Russian forces remark at his military bases, performed frequent joint workout routines and taken shipping of tactical nuclear weapons which Putin has positioned in Belarus in a pass broadly condemned in the West.
The Kremlin also credited Lukashenko with brokering closing month’s deal to total the Wagner mutiny, which Putin said had fleet threatened to tip Russia into civil battle.
Putin said the two leaders would meet on Sunday and Monday and would notify about safety and other disorders “in huge component and extensive”.
Lukashenko has not dedicated his miniature military to be half of Russia’s battle, nonetheless the probability of a fresh attack from Belarusian soil compels Ukraine to provide protection to its northern border, stretching its forces because it tries to step up its counteroffensive in the east and south of the nation.