On Tuesday, embattled Belarus’ president Alexander Lukashenko said that he had ordered the deployment of troops on the country’s western border in full combat readiness.
In a televised meeting, Lukashenko said the units were on full alert and ready to fulfil their obligations.
According to Lukashenko, Belarus had deployed armed units on its western borders with Poland and Lithuania in response to statements by foreign governments about the situation inside the country.
Lukashenko claimed Sunday that NATO forces were 15 minutes from Belarus’ western borders with Poland and Lithuania.
“NATO troops are at our gates. Lithuania, Latvia, Poland and … Ukraine are ordering us to hold new elections,” he told supporters at a rally in the capital city of Minsk, according to Reuters news agency.
He warned Belarusians that their country would “die as a state” if new polls were held, Reuters also reported.
NATO has rejected accusations by embattled Lukashenko that it was deploying forces to that country’s western frontiers, but said it was keeping a close eye on events there.
“NATO does not pose a threat to Belarus and has no military buildup in the region,” Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said in a statement Monday.