On Sunday 26 June 2022, the Defence Intelligence of the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine reported that on Saturday night, Russian bomber aircrafts launched a massive multi-target missile attack on Ukraine from Belarus airspace, the first instance of an air strike on Ukraine directly from the territory of Belarus.
According to the Defence Intelligence report, six long-range supersonic Tupolev Tu-22M3 aircraft took off from Shaykovka Airport in the Kaluga region of the Russian Federation, passed through Smolensk region and entered Belarus airspace. Somewhere between the town of Pietrykaŭ and the city of Mazyr in the Gomel Region in Belarus, approximately 50 to 60 kilometres from the state border of Ukraine, they launched twelve X-22 cruise missiles towards Kyiv, Chernihiv and Sumy regions. The X-22 missiles, also known as Kh-22a, are air-to-surface missiles with an operational range of up to 600 km and are capable of carrying conventional or nuclear warheads. After launching the missiles, the six bomber aircrafts returned to Shaykovka Airport in Russia.
The Defence Intelligence report also stated "Today's shelling is directly related to the Kremlin's efforts to draw Belarus into the war in Ukraine as a direct participant".
On the same day, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko met Russian President Vladimir Putin in Saint Petersburg, Russia, and the office of the President of the Republic of Belarus quoted President Putin as saying during the meeting: "in the next few months we will transfer Iskander-M tactical missile systems to Belarus, which, as you know, can be used both ballistic and cruise missiles, both conventional and nuclear versions".
The Iskander-M is a road-mobile ballistic missile system, has an operational range of about 400 km to 500 km and is capable of carrying conventional or nuclear warheads. It has a smaller payload capability compared to X-22 missiles, but its mobile launch platform makes it difficult to prevent launch and is capable of in-flight manoeuvring to evade anti-ballistic missiles as well as keep homing mobile targets.
In an additional report, Ukrainian Intelligence estimated that about 1,500 Russian personnel and about 4,000 to 6,000 Belarus personnel are conducting joint exercises in Belarus near the border with Ukraine, practising future actions on the territory of Ukraine.