Lukashenko says Belarusian air defense systems intercepted during Russian invasion

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Lukashenko says Belarusian air defense systems intercepted during Russian invasion

He said the missiles were intercepted by Belarusian air defense systems earlier this week.

Lukashenko, a close ally of Russian leader Vladimir Putin, called the act a provocation Thanks God, the Pantsir anti-aircraft systems were able to intercept all missiles launched by the Armed Forces of Ukraine, according to comments posted by his presidential website on Saturday and published by state-run news agency Belta.

He said that there were no soldiers from Belarus currently fighting in Ukraine.

Ukraine's military did not respond to CNN's requests for comment on Lukashenko's claims. Belarus remains one of Russia's closest allies and has played a key role in its invasion of Ukraine - despite Lukashenko saying his country was being dragged into the war once again, even though it was under Soviet control until declaring its sovereignty in 1990. Russian troops launched the invasion on February 24 and crossed into Ukraine from Belarus after months of amassing along Ukraine's border. Russian Tu- 22 Backfire bombers used Belarusian airspace to launch coordinated cruise missile attacks on targets within Ukraine in the first days of the attack, according to NATO officials in March. The vast majority of Russian air operations in Ukraine are launched from Belarus. Six Russian backfire bombers flying over Belarusian airspace last week launched 12 Kh 22 cruise missiles that hit targets in Kyiv, Chernihiv and Sumy Oblast, according to Ukraine's Air Force Command. Russian President Putin has said that sanctions and unprecedented political and social pressure from the West are speeding up his country's reunification plans with Belarus. Meanwhile, the governor of the Russian city of Belgorod -- which is close to the Ukrainian border -- said at least three people had been killed and dozens of residential buildings damaged by explosions early on Sunday morning. A 10-year-old child was among the injured, Vyacheslav Gladkov said in a Telegram post. He said that the blast destroyed five houses and damaged 11 apartment buildings and 34 private residential houses. Gladkov said the region's air defense systems had presumably worked and that the cause of the explosions was being investigated. Russian officials have accused Ukraine of mounting cross border attacks - usually on fuel depots and military installations - claims that Ukrainian government agencies say they are intended to stoke anti-Ukrainian sentiment. Ukrainian officials have yet to comment on the reports of the blasts.