Ukrainian intelligence suggests Belarus is showing "readiness to maybe participate directly" in Russia's invasion, "in addition to allowing Russians to use their territory as well as letting them cross the border" into Ukraine, a Ukrainian government official told CNN.
A second source close to the Ukrainian government told CNN that in addition to the Ukrainian intel, the Biden administration has also conveyed to Kyiv that Belarus is preparing to invade.
The Washington Post first reported that Belarus was preparing to send soldiers into Ukraine, citing a US administration official.
Talks at the border: The intelligence comes as talks are set for Monday between Russia and Ukraine near the Belarusian border.
Belarus is an ally of Russia and is being used as a launch point for Russian troops into Ukraine.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s office said Belarus' President Aleksander Lukashenko called his Ukrainian counterpart on Sunday.
"The politicians have agreed that the Ukrainian delegation will meet with the Russian delegation without preconditions on the Ukrainian-Belarusian border, near the Pripyat River," Zelensky’s office said. "Aleksander Lukashenko has taken responsibility for ensuring that all planes, helicopters and missiles stationed on the Belarusian territory will remain on the ground during the Ukrainian delegation's travel, meeting and return."
Belarus' take on the invasion: Lukashenko said last week that Belarusian troops could join the invasion “if it becomes necessary.”
“Our troops are not participating in any way in this operation. We’re not going to justify ourselves here about our participation or non-participation in this conflict. I repeat once again. Our troops are not there but if it becomes necessary, if Belarus and Russia need them, they will be there,“ Lukashenko said on tape from state news agency Belta’s YouTube channel.
Zelensky's appeal to Belarusians: On Sunday, Zelensky spoke directly to Belarusians as “neighbors," saying it was "a referendum for you as well."
"You decide who you are and whom to become. How you would look in your children’s eyes. How you’d look in each other’s eyes. In your neighbor’s eyes. And we are your neighbors,” Zelensky said.
The White House declined to comment. CNN has also reached out to the US State Department for comment.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Sunday morning on MSNBC that the US and its allies reserve the right to further sanction Belarus. The US Treasury Department already issued sanctions against 24 individuals and entities on Thursday.