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Belarus president closes country’s western borders, puts army on high alert

Minsk: Belarus’s president Alexander Lukashenko on Friday announced that he is putting the country’s troops on high alert and closing the country’s borders with Poland and Lithuania.

The beleaguered president who has been facing mass protests for the past six weeks demanding his resignation 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, adding that the border with Ukraine would also be further strengthened, Al Jazeera reported.

Lukashenko also said that “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 however did not mention 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

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