Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko said at a a meeting on security issues in Minsk on Monday, Oct. 10 that his country and Russia had decided to deploy a joint regional group of forces.

Lukashenko recalled having a private conversation with Russia’s Vladimir Putin after the unofficial CIS summit in St. Petersburg.

“Given the aggravation on the western borders of the Union State [of Russia and Belarus], we agreed to deploy a regional group of forces of the Russian Federation and the Republic of Belarus. This complies with our documents. It says that if the threat level reaches the level as it is now, we begin to use the Union State group of forces. The basis (I have always said this) of this group is the army, the Armed Forces of the Republic of Belarus. I must inform you that the formation of this group has begun. It’s been going on for, I think, for two days. I gave an order to start forming this group,” he said.

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After numerous rumours surfaced that President Aleksandr Lukashenko would hold a security meeting today in response to Russia’s renewed attack on Ukraine, the news was revealed.

As reported by Kyiv Post earlier today, Russian forces began a massive missile attack on Ukrainian cities on Monday, Oct.  10, by striking Kyiv and Dnipro.

Early reports and video footage doing the rounds on social media sites show that several Ukrainian cities were attacked by Russian missiles on the morning of Oct. 10. The missile attacks came after the patrial destruction of the bridge connecting Crimea to mainland Russia.

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Lviv, Ternopil, Zhytomyr, Zaporizhzhia, Mykolaiv, Khmelnytsky, and Kremenchuk were all hit by missiles this morning following strikes on Kyiv and Dnipro.

Following recent advances by the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Putin has appointed Sergei Surovikin to assume command of Russian forces in Ukraine.

According to Igor Konashenkov, spokesman for the Russian Defence Ministry,  Surovikin will now serve as the “Commander of the Joint Group of Troops in the area of the ‘special military operation’,” replacing General Alexander Dvornikov, who had previously been in charge of Russian forces on the southern flank.

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