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Ukraine war: Belarus dictator stands in front of battle map on live TV

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Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko appears to have indicated Vladimir Putin’s forces have plans to invade Moldova. TV

Putin’s war-mongering sidekick addressed security officials today while standing in front of a battle map that seems to show a planned operation from southern Ukraine into its tiny neighbour.  

The map also showed proposed battle plans for Russian troops across the country.

It detailed Russian lines of attack heading into Ukraine, some of which have materialised in the first few days of the invasion – such as forces storming towards Kyiv from the north, and towards Kherson from Crimea.

But they also showed off several attacks that have yet to come to pass – with one even appearing to point from the port city of Odessa into Moldova, suggesting Russia plans to march troops into Ukraine’s neighbour. 

Meanwhile Putin’s military has suffered an embarrassing string of defeats while trying to carry out precision strikes on key targets in an apparent effort to win the war quickly and convincingly. 

That has raised fears that he is now about to deploy Russian heavy armour and artillery in an attempt to brute-force his way to victory – a strategy that could cause huge civilian casualties.

A ‘terrifying’ convoy 40 miles long comprised of tanks and artillery is now heading towards the capital Kyiv, apparently in an effort to surround it.

Russian forces began bombarding the city today, striking a TV mast and a nearby Holocaust memorial, after warning citizens to leave or risk being killed. 

Several of the city’s neighbourhoods are currently under attack, according to local reports. The Kyiv Independent reported at 23:29 local time (21:29GMT) that Russian bombs have struck Vyshneve, a town outside the capital. 

It also said the neighbourhoods of Rusanivka, Kurenivka and Boiarka – as well as the area near Kyiv International Airport – were coming under fire. Rusanivka in particular is very central.

It also reported a loud explosion was heard at Jika Tserkva, a city in Kyiv Oblast, when a duel depot was attacked, according to the UNIAN news agency.

The locations of the reported attacks suggest Russian forces are tonight closing in from multiple sides of the capital, particularly from the west. 

Alexander Lukashenko has appeared in front of a battle map during a state TV broadcast which appears to lebih jelasnya Russia’s attack plans in Ukraine

The map seems to suggest that a force will be sent from the Ukrainian city of Odessa to attack neighbouring Moldova, where Russia already has troops Moldova: A brief history 

The Republic of Moldova has changed its colours many times throughout its history,which dates back to the 1350s.

In its early state, it was the precursor to what is today Moldova and Romania, and was known as the Principality of Moldavia.

The principality was a vassal of the Ottoman Empire from the 1500s until the 19th century. In 1812, the eastern half of the principality – Bessarabia – was annexed by the Russian Empire. 

Over 100 years later, Bessarabia briefly became independent as the Moldavian Democratic Republic and united with Romania in 1918, but was occupied by the Soviet Union soon after during the Second World War.

When the war ended in 1945, it remained in the Soviet Union as the Moldavian SSR, until the USSR dissolved in 1991, at which point the country declared independence and become the Republic of Moldova as it is known today.

However, a small strip of Moldovan territory found on the country’s easy bank has been under the control of the breakaway government of Transnistria since 1990, which is one of four post-Soviet ‘frozen conflict’ zones. 

The map displayed by Lukashenko is split into four sections which align with the command districts of Ukraine’s military, showing Russian attacks from Belarus, along Ukraine’s eastern border, and from occupied Crimea.

A two-pronged pincer movement is shown targeting Kyiv – an attack that is currently playing out – which forces are also shown heading out of occupied Donetsk and Crimea before linking up at Melitopol, which Russia has captured.

But attacks are also shown hitting the city of Dnipro, which has yet to take place – possibly because the forces assigned to attack it have been held up by fierce resistance in Kharkiv, which is along the route.

Another attack appears to be heading for the city of Cherkasy via the city of Sumy, where Russian forces have also been held up, while a third appears to break off from the Kyiv assault towards Zhytomyr.

Perhaps the most baffling shows troops attacking from the Ukrainian port city of Odessa towards Transnistria, a breakaway region of Moldova that Russia occupies.

Nicu Popescu, Moldova’s deputy prime minister, admitted today that his country is in a ‘very risky zone’ with the population feeling ‘anxiety and fear’. But, he added, he does not expect to be invaded and instead sees the biggest challenge as handling an influx of refugees. 

A Ukrainian military official said Belarusian troops joined the war Tuesday in the Chernihiv region in the north, without providing details. But just before that, Lukashenko said his country had no plans to join the fight. 

The map also pinpoints what appear to be Ukrainian military infrastructure and missile batteries in locations that were struck by Russian missile strikes on the first day of the invasion.

Lukashenko used the map while speaking to his security council about what he said were Belarusian missile strikes on Ukraine

The map details several attacks that have already taken place, such as a two-pronged assault from Belarus and Russia towards Kyiv (pictured, a Russian convoy heading to Kyiv) 

In a clip of the meeting posted online,Lukashenko can also be heard talking about missile strikes launched from Belarusian territory at Ukraine in advance of the main Russian assault.

‘Missiles in the Mazyr region hit those [Ukrainian] positions, after which we didn’t see them again,’ Lukashenko tells his top cabinet.

‘Once the Russians began their advance, we no longer saw those positions.

‘That’s why I say that, yes, there were indeed missile launches from Belarusian territory and have shared honestly which targets we attacked.’ 

Perhaps worryingly for the direction the war could take from here, the chart also features a map of the US mainland and Canada.

A box on the right-hand side detailing what appear to be military units also features the badge of the US Army Air Cavalry, while below it there is a map of the whole of Europe – perhaps detailing NATO troop positions.

Russia is now six days into its invasion of Ukraine, and the battle does not appear to be going to plan.

Ukraine’s military has put up a stronger-than-expected resistance while ordinary civilians have also come out in force to resist ‘the occupiers’.

The battle map also shows Russian forces heading through the city of Kharkiv to  Dnipro – an attack that may have been held up due to heavy resistance (pictured) Putin propaganda channel Russia Today WILL disappear from British TV screens

Russian state-owned media outlet RT will no longer be available on Sky, the culture secretary has said.

Nadine Dorries said the move would mean ‘Putin’s polluting propaganda machine’ would be ‘severely restricted’ in Britain.

In a tweet, Ms Dorries said: ‘Shortly, the French satellite which broadcasts Russia Today (RT) in both the EU and UK will be switched off.

‘This means RT will no longer be available via Sky.

‘Putin’s polluting propaganda machine will now have severely restricted access into British homes via our TV screens.’

It comes after the video-sharing website YouTube blocked channels linked to RT and Sputnik across Europe, including the UK.

The Google-owned platform said the ban was effective immediately though it may take some time for the block to become fully effective.

The technology giant had previously limited the ability for RT and other Russian channels to make money from advertisements that appear on videos but has extended its sanctions.

‘Due to the ongoing war in Ukraine, we’re blocking YouTube channels connected to RT and Sputnik across Europe, effective immediately,’ a statement from Google Europe said.

‘It’ll take time for our systems to fully ramp up. Our teams continue to monitor the situation around the clock to take swift action.’

Fellow social media platform Facebook has also blocked access to RT and Sputnik on its platform having previously also limited those channels’ ability to make advertising revenue.

The change means the pages of the organisations are not visible on Facebook or Instagram in the EU, but for now, they remain visible in the UK.

Former UK deputy prime minister, Sir Nick Clegg, who is now vice president of global affairs at Facebook’s parent company, Meta, said the firm had been asked by governments to take further action against Russian state-backed media.

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