‘All they can expect here is death’: Ukrainian volunteers brace for Russian attack from Belarus

Russia has built up its forces in Belarus and released footage of military drills along the border with Ukraine, stoking fears of a renewed assault on Kyiv’s defences from the north. FRANCE 24’s team on the ground met Ukrainian volunteers in the Zhytomyr region who are preparing to face another Russian attack.

Russia has been increasing its forces in Belarus since last October, shifting units that were beaten back by Ukraine’s counter-offensive in the east and south. The build-up has heightened fears that Moscow is planning to use Belarus as a launch pad for a fresh offensive – as it did at the start of the war in February 2022.

This time, however, Ukraine's Territorial Defence Forces say they are ready to face down any attack.

“If the Russians come our way, they’ll try to divert our main force in another direction,” said Sergeant “Leshy”, a military instructor training Ukrainian volunteers near the border with Belarus. “But all that they can expect here is death.”

Click on the player above to watch the report by FRANCE 24's Luke Shrago and Mélina Huet.

Read more on FRANCE 24 English

Read also:
For Ukrainians guarding Kyiv’s airspace, Patriot missiles could be a game changer
First Russian soldiers arrive in Belarus for new joint force
Devastating strike on Russian military base in Ukraine exposes ‘gross criminal incompetence’