Lukashenka orders to bar ‘bandits’ from crossing Ukraine-Belarus border

Alyaksandr Lukashenka sounded a note of warning against the feasibility of gunrunning from Ukraine to Belarus during Monday’s meeting with National Security Council Secretary Stanislau Zas and the State Border Committee Chairman Anatol Lapo.

“We have decided to strengthen the border. We see how much trouble are coming for Belarus from there, including weapons. We should close the border – not for decent people, but for bandits, for those who smuggle arms,” he said.

“The minister [Interior Minister Ihar Shunevich] has already reported to me. They arrested a man who had a real arsenal in possession,” he said.

It appears that the Belarusian leader referred to the case of Leanid Shtein, Head of the heat and power center of the Haradzeya sugar plant, and a man from his entourage. They were detained by Belarusian siloviki in mid September. Dozens of grenades, explosives, thousands of cartridges were found and seized from them. The police did not go into detail; the public is still unaware of where the arsenal came from.

“Some people say he collected arms. But all the units are military-grade. How and where did he get them from? We checked and found out that nothing was missing in our army. Thus, someone carried them from abroad! Therefore, the decision to strengthen the Belarus-Ukraine border,” he added.

The statement was made a few days after the meeting of Putin and Lukashenka in Sochi, at which, among others, the Ukrainian issue was discussed. Earlier, independent experts assumed that Vladimir Putin would talk the Belarusian side into certain geopolitical concessions in return for economic aid.