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Border Crossing Points In Belarus Continue To Function After Lukashenka's Order To Shut Down Borders

Crossings on Belarus's western border still seem to be functioning normally despite President Alyaksandr Lukashenka's announcement. (file photo)

MINSK -- The Belarusian State Border Committee says it has strengthened border controls, but entry and exit crossing points remain open despite a statement by President Alyaksandr Lukashenka, beleaguered by six weeks of mass protests demanding his resignation, that the country needed to take measures on its western edge.

"The border service has strengthened controls on the state border of the Republic of Belarus using tactical reserve forces," the committee said in a statement on September 18.

"At the same time, the entry and exit crossing points are functioning within their capacity," it said.

Polish border guards told the Reuters news agency on September 18 that they had seen no issues at the Polish-Belarusian border, while a spokesman for Ukraine’s State Border Guarding Service, Andriy Demchenko, said in a televised interview on September 18 that there were no signs of additional border guards or equipment on the Belarusian side that would indicate any intention to shut the border with Ukraine.

On September 17, Lukashenka, who has been challenged by weeks of mass protests over the results of an August 9 presidential election that opposition members and many western countries say was rigged, accused Poland, Lithuania, and Ukraine of what he called attempts to ignite "a hot war" and said borders with those three countries needed to be shut down.

With reporting by Reuters and Ukrayina-24
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    RFE/RL's Belarus Service

    RFE/RL's Belarus Service is one of the leading providers of news and analysis to Belarusian audiences in their own language. It is a bulwark against pervasive Russian propaganda and defies the government’s virtual monopoly on domestic broadcast media.