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Under New Belarus Law, 'Little Green Men' Would Mean War

MINSK -- Belarus has adopted legislation under which the appearance of armed foreign forces on the country's soil will be considered an act of aggression regardless of whether they are regular troops.

The amendments to the law on the state of war appear to be President Alyaksandr Lukashenka's latest warning to Russia not to have designs on Belarus.

Russia alarmed even its closest partners when it sent forces in unmarked uniforms to Crimea to establish control over the Ukrainian region before illegally annexing it last March. The troops became known as "Little Green Men."

Russia denies sending troops into eastern Ukraine, where a conflict has killed more than 5,000 people, despite what Kyiv and NATO say is irrefutable proof it has done so.

The amendments would also apply to incursions from the West into Belarus, which borders three NATO nations.

The amendments stipulate that the "sending by a foreign country or countries or on behalf of a foreign country or countries of armed groups, irregular armed forces, mercenary groups or regular armed forces, who use arms against Republic of Belarus" will lead to an announcement of a state of war.

They come into force on February 1.

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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.

RFE/RL has been declared an "undesirable organization" by the Russian government.

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