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MINSK, August 2 (Itar-Tass) —— Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko on Thursday appointed Alexander Boyechko new head of the State Border Committee. The president stressed that violations of the republic’s state border should not go unpunished.
Lukashenko said certain erroneous decisions made earlier had led to the State Border Committee departing from the immediate task of border protection. “These decisions were made on insistence of the leadership of the State Border Committee. However, this does not mean that our border should not be kept closed. It is wrong that frontiersmen were made politicians rather than military people,” Lukashenko said.
Regarding the latest personnel decisions (the dismissals of the former head of the State Border Committee and of the commander of the Air Force and Air Defenses of Belarus), the president noted that this was nothing out of the ordinary. “The punishment was not very harsh. In the Soviet times the punishment for such decisions could have been jail,” he added. The president acknowledged that frontiersmen had been first of all to blame for the incident with a Swedish light plane that entered the Belarussian air space from the Lithuanian side on July 4. He said a border guards unit had spotted the plane but the appropriate command regarding the border transgressor was not forthcoming. “State border violations must not go unpunished. They should be checked by any means, even by arms, no matter what,’ Lukashenko stated. He said frontiersmen must be proving their dedication to the Fatherland now. “Professionalism is the only criterion by which the work of frontiersmen will be judged,” the president said.
He described the new head of the State Border Committee as a person who knows border service through and through.
Lukashenko also stressed that the main task of frontiersmen is to protect the state border while international activity and other matters are secondary. He said it is not for frontiersmen to cast about for the ways to protect Europeans’ interests. “Let Europeans come to you if they want you to protect borders.” “We must guard, above all, our own interests. Any provocations must be parried,” the president said.