Did Belarus leader accidentally leak Putin’s plan to invade Moldova on giant battle map?

2 March 2022, 15:16

Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko appeared to release military plans on TV which include invading the Transnistria region of Moldova.
Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko appeared to release military plans on TV which include invading the Transnistria region of Moldova. Picture: Twitter @TadeuszGiczan / Alamy

By Sophie Barnett

Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko appears to have indicated where Vladimir Putin's forces plan to invade as he stood next to a 'battle map' live on TV.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

Mr Lukashenko addressed security officials in front of an invasion map which appeared to show a planned operation from southern Ukraine into neighbouring Moldova - a former Soviet republic that also borders Romania.

The President, who is a close supporter and ally of Putin, showed the map to his security officials on Tuesday.

It shows Ukraine divided into four parts, detailing Putin's planned troop movements and infrastructure targets.

It also showed lines of attack that have already been carried out by Russia, including troops closing in on Kyiv from the north and towards Kherson from Crimea.

The map appears to show Moldova's breakaway region, Transnistria, being targeted too.

Read more: Putin's invasion of Ukraine leaves 2,000 civilians dead as pleas for escape routes grow

Read more: Russian convoy blitzed near Kyiv by Ukrainian troops 'armed with Brit anti-tank weapons'

There have been fears the war could spill out into neighbouring countries if Putin isn't stopped - with concerns this could end in a conflict with Nato.

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss warned last week: "If we don’t stop Putin in Ukraine we are going to see others under threat – the Baltics, Poland, Moldova, and it could end up in a conflict with Nato.”

According to news agency AFP, Lukashenko also announced sending more troops to the south of the country, by the border with Ukraine, at the same security council meeting.

But forces of Belarus would not be taking part in the attack on Ukraine, he added.

Read more: Watch: Defiant Ukrainians form human wall to block Russian tanks from advancing

Read more: Boris accuses Russia of 'war crimes' after MPs give standing ovation to Ukraine ambassador

It comes as Belarusian military chiefs are among those to be targeted as part of the UK's first package of sanctions against Minsk for the role it is playing in Russia's invasion.

Mr Lukashenko has hosted Russian forces and allowed them to use Belarus as a staging ground.

Four defence officials and two military enterprises are included in the first package of sanctions to hit Belarus.

Ms Truss said Lukashenko's administration "actively aids and abets Russia's illegal invasion" and should be made to feel the "consequences".

The increased fears of further attacks comes as Ukraine's death toll hit over 2,000 on Wednesday, according to its state emergency service.

Well over 800,000 Ukrainians have become refugees, the UN believes, as places such as Kharkiv and Kyiv experience heavy bombardments as Russia steps up its attack.