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Belarus preparing to join Russian invasion of Ukraine, U.S. official says

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko speaks to the media after casting his ballot in a referendum on constitutional amendments on Feb. 27. (Sergei Sheleg/AFP/Getty Images)

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Belarus is preparing to send soldiers into Ukraine in support of the Russian invasion in a deployment that could begin as soon as Monday, a U.S. administration official said Sunday evening.

“It’s very clear Minsk is now an extension of the Kremlin,” said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive security development.

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko is a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, and he has allowed Russian troops to assemble in Belarus and conduct large-scale military drills there. If Belarus joins the Russian invasion, it would significantly complicate proposed talks between Russia and Ukraine, which the two sides had planned to hold at the Ukrainian border with Belarus.

Here’s what to know

  • Russian forces pushed into Kharkiv, sparking a battle for control in Ukraine’s second-largest city, but by afternoon, Kharkiv’s governor said the city remained in government control.
  • British oil giant BP said it will “exit” its 20 percent stake in Russian oil giant Rosneft after Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, in one of the biggest signs yet of the Western business world cutting ties over the Kremlin’s actions.
  • More than 350 civilians have been killed, including 14 children, Ukrainian officials said Sunday. According to a U.N. refugee agency, 400,000 people have fled Ukraine after several days of fighting.
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Here's what to know:

Russian forces pushed into Kharkiv, sparking a battle for control in Ukraine’s second-largest city, but by afternoon, Kharkiv’s governor said the city remained in government control.
British oil giant BP said it will “exit” its 20 percent stake in Russian oil giant Rosneft after Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, in one of the biggest signs yet of the Western business world cutting ties over the Kremlin’s actions.
More than 350 civilians have been killed, including 14 children, Ukrainian officials said Sunday. According to a U.N. refugee agency, 400,000 people have fled Ukraine after several days of fighting.

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War in Ukraine: What you need to know

The latest: Russia claimed to have seized control of Soledar, a heavily contested salt-mining town in eastern Ukraine where fighting has raged recently, but a Ukrainian military official maintained that the battle was not yet over. The U.S. and Germany are sending tanks to Ukraine.

Russia’s Gamble: The Post examined the road to war in Ukraine, and Western efforts to unite to thwart the Kremlin’s plans, through extensive interviews with more than three dozen senior U.S., Ukrainian, European and NATO officials.

Photos: Washington Post photographers have been on the ground from the beginning of the war — here’s some of their most powerful work.

How you can help: Here are ways those in the U.S. can support the Ukrainian people as well as what people around the world have been donating.

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