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Lukashenko, Putin agree to deploy joint regional military group

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko and Russian President Vladimir Putin have agreed to deploy a joint regional military task force. Lukashenko declared the development at a meeting on security issues, state-owned news agency Belta reported on Monday.

“Due to the escalation on the western borders of the Union State, we have agreed to deploy a regional [military] group of the Russian Federation and the Republic of Belarus. This is all according to our documents. If the threat reaches current levels, as it is now, we will start deploying [the group],” Lukashenko said.

Lukashenko also claimed that, according to his sources, Ukraine is preparing to launch a strike on Belarus: “Yesterday we were already warned through unofficial channels about a strike on Belarus from the territory of Ukraine. They claimed: 'We’ll make it a second [attack on the Crimean Bridge.’ My response was simple: ‘You tell the president of Ukraine and the other lunatics that the Crimean Bridge will seem like nothing to them if they touch even one meter of our territory with their dirty hands.’”

On the morning of 10 October, Russia launched 75 missiles at Ukraine, 41 of which were shot down by anti-missile defenses, reported Ukrainian Commander-in-Chief Valeriy Zaluzhniy. The attack is ongoing, as the city of Kryvyi Rih remained under fire at 10 am Kyiv time.

Kyiv (including the city center), Lviv, Ternopil, Zhytomyr, Khmelnytskyi, Zaporizhzhia, Kharkiv, Sumy, Rivne, Ternopil, Poltava, and Kirovohrad regions have all been shelled. In Lviv, the thermal power plant was damaged, the city was de-energized, there was no hot water, and backup power generators were started.

The Ukrainian Minister of Culture Oleksandr Tkachenko said that the city's Philharmonic building, the Khanenko museum, and the Shevchenko museum were all damaged by rocket fire. Missiles have hit Kyiv's Taras Shevchenko National University, as well as the eponymous park nearby.

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