Belarus president sacks chiefs over teddy stunt
Belarussian president Alexander Lukashenko has sacked his air defence chief and the head of the border guards for failing to stop a Swedish plane dropping hundreds of teddy bears over the hardline state in a pro-democracy stunt.
The plane, chartered by a Swedish public relations firm, crossed into Belarussian air space from Lithuania on 4 July and dropped about 800 of the toys near the town of Ivenets.
Each bear carried a message calling for Belarus to show greater respect for human rights.
In a statement yesterday, the presidential press service said that Dmitry Pakhmelkin, the air defence chief, and Igor Rachkovsky, head of the border guards, had been dismissed “for not properly carrying out their duties in safeguarding Belarussian national security”.
Once described as Europe’s last dictator, Mr Lukashenko has been ostracised by the West because of a crackdown on political opponents.
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