Belarus update: Lukashenko closes western borders, troops on high alert
Belarus’s president, beleaguered by six weeks of mass protests demanding his resignation, has announced he is putting troops on high alert and closing the country’s borders with Poland and Lithuania.
The beleaguered president underlined his repeated claim that these protests are driven and supported by the Western powers, while making this latest announcement.
“We are forced to withdraw troops from the streets, put the army on high alert and close the state border on the west, primarily with Lithuania and Poland,” Lukashenko said at a women’s forum.
Lukashenko also said Belarus’s border with Ukraine would be strengthened.
“I don’t want my country to be at war. Moreover, I don’t want Belarus and Poland, Lithuania to turn into a theatre of military operations where our issues will not be resolved,” he said.
“Therefore, today in front of this hall of the most beautiful, advanced, patriotic people I want to appeal to the peoples of Lithuania, Poland and Ukraine – stop your crazy politicians, don’t let war break out!”
However, he did not mention neighbouring Latvia, which like Poland and Lithuania is a NATO member.
Protests in Belarus have been going on ever since the results of the August 9 presidential elections were announced which gave Lukashenko an overwhelming victory, which the opposition parties have disputed claiming that the elections were heavily rigged in favour of the president who has been in power since 1994.
Nearly 7,000 people were detained and hundreds were brutally beaten by police during the post-election protests.
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