According to the Belarusian State News Agency, the leader of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, ordered the closure of the border with Ukraine on Friday (July 2) in an attempt to prevent the flow of his so-called weapons into coup planners discovered by his security services.
The move seemed to deepen the confrontation between Belarus and external forces, as the Belarusian government forced the grounding of Ryanair’s flights in May and arrested a government critic on the plane.
Western countries have imposed sanctions on Belarus to punish its actions, and the European Union and Ukraine have also banned flights registered in Belarus from entering their airspace.
Lukashenko has repeatedly accused Western malicious people of trying to oust him. He said that he had ordered a nationwide purge and found in Belarus a rebel group planning to stage a coup.
“They have crossed the line. We can’t forgive them,” he said.
According to Baitong News Agency, the senior leader said in a speech at a rally to commemorate the country’s Independence Day that Germany, Lithuania, Poland, Ukraine and the United States are behind the so-called insurgency.
“A large number of weapons are being shipped from Ukraine to Belarus. This is why I ordered the border security forces to completely close the border with Ukraine,” Lukashenko said.
The spokesperson of the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Olekh Nikolayenko, stated that Ukraine has neither interfered in Belarus’ internal affairs, nor does it intend to interfere in the future.
“The Ukrainian side has not yet received an official notification from Belarus about closing the border. The people affected by this are mainly the Belarusian people,” Nikolayenko said.
Belarus borders Ukraine in the south. It borders Poland and Lithuania to the west, Latvia to the north, and Russia to the east.
After Brussels imposed economic sanctions, Belarus closed its border with Ukraine a few days after recalling its permanent representative to the EU for consultations.
However, rating agencies and analysts said that Lukashenko was also subject to Western sanctions due to total political repression. He was basically not punished and was able to continue to provide funds for the economy and his security forces.