Yesterday evening, Belarusian MoD scrambled Mi-24 helicopters to intercept these balloons launched from Lithuania in direction of Belarus carrying pro-opposition flags.
The flag in question was the country’s official one between 1991 and 1995. The current red-and-green design is based on the flag that Belarus used when it was the Soviet Republic.
A video posted to Twitter and reportedly sourced from the Ministry of Defense of Belarus appears to show footage from the front cockpit of a Mi-24 Hind helicopter gunship as it wards off a balloon carrying a red-and-white banner that has become a regular sight at recent demonstrations staged by those opposed to the authoritarian president of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko.
“Thanks to the crews of Mi-24 helicopters the balloons’ flight was intercepted without recourse to weapons,” the Ministry of Defense added in a statement, claiming that the eight balloons had launched from neighboring Lithuania and were attempting to violate Belarusian airspace. According to a report in the Lithuanian media, one of the eight balloons was carrying a 50-foot red-and-white flag.
The reported “provocation” occurred near the village of Volkovshchina in the Ashmyany district, the Ministry of Defense of Belarus claims. This western district borders Lithuania and is only around 25 miles from the Lithuanian capital, Vilnius.
At the same time, the Lithuanian Foreign Ministry says it has summoned the Belarusian ambassador as it protests an alleged violation of its airspace by the Belarusian Mi-24.