Belarus closes border to Ukraine over coup claim

Belarus closes border to Ukraine over coup claim
President Lukashenko claims his security forces uncovered "terrorist sleeper cells". Source: Reuters
2 Min Read

Daily US Times: Belarus has closed its border with Ukraine because according to Minsk, arms are being smuggled into the country.

Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko says arms smuggling is part of an attempt by outside powers to overthrow his authoritarian regime.

Mr Lukashenko claimed that his security services had uncovered a foreign-backed terrorist sleeper cells plotting to oust him from power. But the Belarusian president did not provide any evidence supporting his claim.

H esaid: “They have crossed the line. We cannot forgive them.”

He alleged the weapons were being shipped to terrorist cells funded by Germany, Ukraine, Lithuania, Poland and the US.

At a ceremony marking the country’s 30 years of independence following the collapse of the Soviet Union, Mr Lukashenko siad: “A huge amount of weapons is coming from Ukraine to Belarus. That’s why I ordered border-security forces to fully close the border with Ukraine.”

He said he would confront German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other leaders about the claims.

Ukraine denied interfering in Belarus’s domestic affairs and said closing the 674-mile (1,084-km) border would make its people “suffer”.

Belarus shares a border with Ukraine in the south. It borders Lithuania and Poland in the west, Latvia in the north, and Russia in the east.

The decision of closing borders deepens a standoff between Belarus and outside powers.

In May, Lukashenko’s government prompted international outrage when it forced a Ryanair flight to land and arrested of a government critic who was onboard.

In return, Western countries imposed sanctions on Belarus.

You may read: Last US and Nato forces leave key Afghanistan’s Bagram base