Belarus on Thursday said it shot down a stray Ukrainian air defense missile from an S-300 system that ended up in its territory and summoned Ukraine’s envoy over the incident.
“It was preliminarily established that the fragments belonged to an S-300 anti-aircraft guided missile launched from the territory of Ukraine,” the Belarusian Defense Ministry said.
The missile was downed in a field in Belarus’ southwestern Brest region, and local authorities downplayed the incident. It’s the first known time that a Ukrainian missile ended up in Belarus since the war started, and it came as Russian missiles and drones were pounding Ukrainian infrastructure.
Belarus’ Foreign Ministry said it demanded an investigation into the incident. According to Al Jazeera, a spokesman for Ukraine’s military appeared to acknowledge it was a Ukrainian missile and said the incident was “nothing strange, a result of air defense” and something that “has happened more than once.”
In November, a Ukrainian S-300 missile hit a farm in Poland, killing two people. When the missile strike was first reported, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and his top aides portrayed it as a Russian attack and demanded that NATO take action.
Ukraine had help from an unnamed US intelligence official who told The Associated Press that the missile that hit Poland was Russian. But President Biden later said the missile wasn’t Russian, and Poland and NATO publicly said it came from Ukraine. In response to the false leak, AP fired a reporter but still protected the identity of the source.