Ukraine ploughs funding into fortifying border with Russia, Belarus

KYIV (Reuters) – The Ukrainian government is to build new fortifications and military infrastructure in northeast regions that border Russia and Belarus at a cost of nearly $35 million, Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said on Tuesday.

“At the request of Kharkiv and Chernihiv…we are allocating 911.5 million hryvnias ($24.7 million) for Kharkiv and 363 million ($9.8 million) for Chernihiv to build military engineering and fortification structures,” Shmyhal said on Telegram.

The Chernihiv region that borders Russia and Belarus was partially occupied at the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion in February 2022, but it was later liberated.

Belarus, the Kremlin’s closest ally, initially supported the Russian invasion, opening its borders to Russian troops marching on Ukraine’s capital Kyiv.

Minsk also provided its territory to fighters from the Wagner mercenary group whose move to Belarus was part of a deal that ended their attempted mutiny in June. The eastern Kharkiv region, which borders the Russian region of Belgorod, is still partially occupied and has been the site of active fighting in recent weeks.

Since the liberation of its territories, Ukraine has been actively building defences on its borders to prevent being invaded again. It maintains a significant force in the north.

Moscow’s forces control a swathe of southern and eastern Ukraine. ($1 = 36.9290 hryvnias)

($1 = 36.9290 hryvnias)

(Reporting by Pavel Polityuk; editing by Tom Balmforth and Angus MacSwan)