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Lukashenko urges Belarusian military to be on guard to ward off internal threats

The world has changed, and so has the army, the country's president pointed out
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko Nikolai Petrov/BelTA/TASS
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko
© Nikolai Petrov/BelTA/TASS

MINSK, March 11./TASS/. Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko urged the country’s armed forces on Thursday to be ready to not only repel foreign aggression, but to also defend the country against domestic threats.

"I am telling you in public - we, the military, will have to defend our country from here, starting from the inside," the president said, commenting on the reshuffling of personnel in law enforcement agencies.

He cautioned the armed forces against sitting around "and waiting for somebody to cross our border, and then grab a gun to begin fighting." "We’ll fight from here. You have to be ready for this," the BelTA news agency quoted the president as saying.

The world has changed, and so has the army, the president pointed out. "Wars have taken on a different nature these days, nobody is going to attack us in group alignments, like in 1941," he stressed. "That would be too obvious, and would amount to a third world war, if that was the case. So, they seek to undermine us from within," Lukashenko stressed, noting that Belarus had already seen something like that.

"They scraped us slightly after the August election, they tried to bite, but they got clobbered," he stressed, adding that the attacks would intensify and would come from inside.

Nationwide demonstrations engulfed Belarus following the August 9 presidential election. According to the Central Election Commission’s official results, incumbent President Alexander Lukashenko won by a landslide, garnering 80.10% of the vote. His closest rival in the race, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, came in second, with 10.12% of the ballot. However, she refused to recognize the election’s outcome, and left Belarus for Lithuania. After the results of the exit polls were announced late on August 9, mass protests erupted in downtown Minsk and other Belarusian cities. During the early post-election period, the rallies snowballed into fierce clashes between the protesters and police. This unrest has been cheered on by the opposition’s Coordination Council, which has beaten the drum for more protests, seeking a new election.