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MINSK, March 20. /TASS/. A cargo plane en route from Armenia to Bulgaria and Croatia via Belarus carried a cargo whose radiation levels exceeded permissible levels by 250 times, Head of the Border Control Department at the Belarusian State Border Committee Oleg Lyashchuk said on Monday.
"The cargo’s radiation background was exceeded by 250 times," he said.
As the Belarusian State Border Committee said, an Antonov An-12 plane en route from Armenia to Bulgaria and Croatia via Belarus made a landing at the airport of the Belarusian city of Gomel on March 19. The plane’s joint inspection made by customs and border control officers revealed a cargo (a manipulator for contact-free testing) with the marking of an ionizing radiation source.
"In this situation, a mobile group of radiation and chemical safety of the Gomel border branch and Emergencies Ministry workers were summoned to the airport where they exercised radiation control of the transported cargo," the State Border Committee said.
According to the Committee’s data, after the Belarusian competent bodies studied the accompanying documents submitted to them and the existence of legal grounds for the cargo’s movement in transit through the republic’s territory was confirmed, a decision was made "to allow the plane with the cargo to cross the state border."
The discovery of the radioactive substances aboard the plane was earlier reported at a session held by Belarus’ President Alexander Lukashenko on the issues of organizing the Belarussian-Russian drills codenamed Zapad-2017 (West-2017).
"One incident is related to the discovery of radioactive substances aboard the plane in transit through Belarus from Armenia to one of European countries," the presidential press office reported.
During the session, Lukashenko also noted the facts of unlawful actions periodically countered by Belarusian border guards.
"All this evidences that we should not relax. We must be vigilant and we must not in any way give a cause for destabilizing the situation in our country," the Belarusian president said.