Media outlets are spreading a lot of information. We have checked it all.
Since the evening of July 30, Lukashenko has been at the Viskuli residence, 7.5 km from the border with Poland. On July 29, two helicopters of the Belarusian Air Force were sent from Machulishchy to the border area with Poland to protect him, and the third one arrived there next day.
There’s been a lot of information spread in the media since this morning, which we have checked. And here are only the facts that we have verified.
Redeployment of two helicopters of the Belarusian Air Force to the border area on July 29
Movements of Lukashenko and helicopters of the Belarusian Air Force to Brest region (29.07 - 30.07.2023) Belarusian Hajun
On July 29 at around 17:00, two helicopters of the Belarusian Air Force, Mi-8 and Mi-24 (board number 14), flew from Machulishchy to a military unit near Kamianyuki village. They arrived in Kamianyuki at around 18:30. The helicopters arrived there to protect the airspace of Belarus during Lukashenko’s visit to the Viskuli residence.
We note that this is a part of the standard procedure in recent years, exactly the same happened in April 2023.
Lukashenko has been in Viskuli since July 30
On July 30 at around 17:00, Lukashenko left his residence near Minsk in a Mi-8 helicopter, escorted by another Mi-8 of the Belarusian Air Force.
About 1.5 hours later, Lukashenko flew to the Viskuli residence, which is 7.5 kilometers from the border with Poland, while the escort helicopter flew to Kamianyuki village, to the other two helicopters. Lukashenko stayed in Viskuli all day on July 31.
Morning of August 1
Movements of Lukashenko and helicopters of the Belarusian Air Force in Brest region (01.08.2023) Belarusian Hajun
At around 09:40, two helicopters of the Belarusian Air Force, Mi-24 (board number 14) and Mi-8, took off from the military unit in Kamianyuki village and flew to patrol the border in the Kamianiets district, Brest region.
At around 10:00, Lukashenko’s helicopter took off from Viskuli and flew to Bielaviezhski, escorted by the Mi-8 of the Belarusian Air Force. At around 12:30, Lukashenko returned to Viskuli, and all 3 helicopters of the Belarusian Air Force landed in Kamianyuki.
The helicopters of the Belarusian Air Force patrolling the border could have entered Poland’s territory
Mi-24 of the Belarusian Air Force Photo: wyborcza.pl
The first reports that two helicopters of the Belarusian Air Force crossed the border with Poland started at around 10:30 (Minsk time).
At that time, Mi-8 and Mi-24 were just patrolling the border. According to reports in social networks and media, the two helicopters were spotted over Poland’s Białowieża village, which is 2 km from the border.
Later, photos were published, which showed that these were the helicopters that participated in patrolling the border with Poland. We can see board number 14 on the Belarusian Mi-24. We managed to check one of the photos and confirm that it was taken in Białowieża, 2.3 km from the border. Twitter users also confirm this.
We also note that media outlets are spreading a video of the Mi-2 helicopter, which is not related to the Belarusian Air Force. Probably, it’s a Polish helicopter.
Were there any drills in the border area with Poland, which are reported in the media?
A photo of the Mi-8 and Mi-24 of the Belarusian Air Force over Poland on August 1 Photo: @SluzbyObyvatel
No, there were no drills in that area. And the helicopters had nothing to do with any drills, they were flying to protect Lukashenko.
Why could the helicopters have entered Poland?
We believe that pilots of the helicopters of the Belarusian Air Force could have entered Poland, but everything indicates that it was an accident.
A deliberate provocation with two attack helicopters crossing the border would be an extremely dangerous step, given that Lukashenko is only about 10 km away, and he has been spending the night 7.5 km from the border for several days, including right now.