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Putin meets Lukashenko amid fears Belarusian forces will join Russia into war against Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin said the situation in four areas of Ukraine that Moscow has declared are part of Russia was “extremely difficult” and ordered security services to step up surveillance to secure its borders and combat new threats.

]Putin’s comments made on Security Services Day, widely celebrated in Russia, came as Kyiv renewed calls for more weapons after Russian drones hit energy targets and as fears grow that Moscow’s ally Belarus could open a new invasion front against Ukraine.

Putin ordered the Federal Security Services (FSB) to step up surveillance of Russian society and the country’s borders to combat the “emergence of new threats” from abroad and traitors at home.

On Monday, Putin made his first visit to Belarus since 2019, where he and his counterpart extolled ever-closer ties at a news conference late in the evening but hardly mentioned Ukraine.

Kyiv, meanwhile, was seeking more weapons from the West after Russian “kamikaze” drones hit energy targets early on Monday.

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