Belarus to close borders with Poland, Lithuania

“We are forced to take the troops off the street, put half of the army under arms and close the state border to the west. Mostly with Lithuania and Poland. It is necessary to strengthen controls on the border with Ukraine”, said the president of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko.

Protests against Lukashenko, who has been accused by his opponents of rigging the presidential elections, have been ongoing in Belarus since August 9.

Lukashenko's rival in the election, Sviatlana Cichanouska, who, according to many protesters, was the real winner of the elections, is currently in Lithuania.

A few days ago, after Lukashenko's meeting with Vladimir Putin in Sochi, it was announced that Belarus had obtained USD 1.5 bn (EUR 1.2 bn) in loans from Russia.

On Thursday, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki was in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius and said that the financial aid earmarked for Belarus "should be significant". He proposed a sum in the region of at least EUR 1 bn.