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Belarus could be forced by Vladimir Putin to join the war in Ukraine after the country’s military vehicles were defaced with a red square.

The markings used to distinguish friend from foe were first seen on Belarusian army vehicles when they took part in combat exercises.

So far, leader Alexander Lukashenko has resisted pressure from the Russian president to send his troops into battle, but the new markings could indicate a more active involvement of the country’s armed forces.

But the Belarusian dictator is completely dependent on Vladimir Putin to prop up his ailing economy.

If Lukashenko’s forces enter the battle, Ukrainian forces could face new tactical challenges as a new front opens up in the north of the country.

Ukrainian official Oleksii Arestovych warned: “Belarus is now a distraction for us.

“There is an active intelligence operation and the movement of a minimal number of troops near Ukraine’s northern border.”

Belarusian officials have confirmed they are preparing a “training plan” to maintain the “combat readiness and mobilization” of their armed forces.

Military vehicles were spotted with a new symbol on them (Photo: News)

Dictator Alexander Lukashenko has so far resisted sending his troops to fight (Photo: AP)

The country’s defense minister Viktor Gulevich said that “these measures will be comprehensive” and that “the armed forces will advance to pre-designated areas and strengthen their equipment as soon as possible, while organizing defense and security issues.”

Mr. Gulevich added: “Of course our southern border, the border with Ukraine, is of utmost importance.”

He also accused Ukraine of planning an attack on Belarus, saying “You can’t blame us, because there is enough evidence of crossing the Belarusian border and aggressive actions against it.”