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Lukashenko threatens to close Belarusian borders as warning to Poland and Lithuania

BELARUSIAN President Alexander Lukashenko said he would put troops on high alert and close the borders with Poland and Lithuania today, but didn’t carry out the threat.

Border officials said crossings were open as usual but that inspections and checks were being stepped up, while officials of the Polish and Lithuanian border agencies said cross-border traffic was normal.

Mr Lukashenko had warned of the closures while addressing a women’s forum, For Belarus, which drew thousands to the Minsk Arena to discuss women’s rights, saying: “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.”

Opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, who fled to Lithuania following the August 9 presidential election she claims was rigged in Mr Lukashenko’s favour, said the president’s talk of border closures showed he lived in an “imaginary world.”

Mr Lukashenko has accused Poland and Lithuania of instigating protests against the election result, with Poland hosting television and social media channels hostile to his government.

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