Belarus shuts border with Ukraine on suspected coup

Photo: EPA Alexander Lukashenko

Belarus closed its border with neighboringUkraine as Minsk claimed that there was detected plot to initiate a coup. Belarus also claimed that there were large volumes of arms smuggled to its territory, BBC elaborated. President Alexander Lukashenko said his country was a victim of an attempt by outside powers to overthrow his regime.

Lukashenko claimed that his security services had uncovered a foreign-backed terrorist sleeper cells plotting to oust him from power. "They have crossed the line. We cannot forgive them," he said. He alleged the weapons were delivered to terrorist cells which had received money from Germany, Lithuania, Poland, Ukraine and the US.

"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," Lukashenko noted, at a ceremony marking the country's 30 years of independence following the collapse of the Soviet Union. He said he would challenge Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel and other leaders about the claims. Ukraine denied accusations of interfering in Belarus's domestic affairs and said closing the 1,084-km border would make its people "suffer". Belarus shares a border with Ukraine in the south. It also borders Poland and Lithuania in the west, Latvia in the north, and Russia in the east.

The latest move worsens a standoff between Belarus and rest of the world. In May Minsk prompted international outrage when it forced a Ryanair flight to land and arrested of a government critic who was onboard.

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