Belarus’ Armed Forces have been put on full combat alert by the decision of President Alexander Lukashenko, the press service of Ministry of Defense of the Republic reported on Saturday.
For the firs time, the country puts its military on high alert since the Cold War era.
President Lukashenko had earlier instructed his defense minister, Viktor Khrenin, to place Belarus’s military in a state of high alert. Lukashenko, facing mass protests, deployed the military to the country’s borders with the European Union and ordered major military exercises as concerns about “unspecified” security threats. He also has called on the defense ministry’s leadership to take all measures on protecting the country’s territorial integrity, paying a special focus on its western part.
“We must first of all protect the western jewel in the crown of Belarus with the center in Grodno,” Lukashenko said during his visit to a military firing range near Grodno, according to BelTA news agency.
The Belarusian leader urged “the toughest measures on protecting the country’s territorial integrity.”.
The Defense Ministry earlier announced that Belarus would hold tactical drills in the Grodno region on 28-31 August.
Lukashenko previously warned of the threat of an outside invasion into the country’s west aiming to annex the Grodno region.
A political crisis erupted in Belarus after the opposition refused to accept the results of the presidential vote that saw Lukashenko re-elected for a sixth term.