A Russian foreign ministry official has said Belarus may enter the conflict in Ukraine if Kyiv decides to “invade” either country.

In an interview with state media, Aleksey Polishchuk said Russia’s joint drills with Belarus were designed to prevent escalation,

but warned that Belarus may join the Ukraine conflict if it or Russia were invaded. Russia used Belarus as a springboard to invade Ukraine in February 2022

“From a legal point of view, the use of military force by the Kyiv regime or the invasion of the territory of Belarus or Russia

by the armed forces of Ukraine are sufficient grounds for a collective response,” Polishchuk told TASS news agency.

A close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin has suggested confiscating the assets of Russians who discredit the country’s armed forces and oppose the war in Ukraine.

A Russian foreign ministry official says joint military drills between Russia and its close ally Belarus were designed to deter “potential opponents from escalation and provocations”.