Belarus tightens security along Ukrainian border

Belarus increases security measure along borders over arms smuggling allegations

Photo by: Kasia_Jot
Photo by: Kasia_Jot

Updated Jul 28, 2015

The Belarusian state border committee announced on Thursday that borders security measures will be tightened over the risks of “the free circulation of weapons in Ukraine.”

The spokesman for the committee Alexander Tishchenko said that the increase in weapons smuggled illegally into Ukraine “poses certain risks to Belarus.”

"The measures to reinforce control of the southern border are very timely and adequate to the current situation in Ukraine," Tishchenko added.

"Paying no attention to the situation in the neighbouring country, including the illegal circulation of weapons and ammunition would be wrong."

Tishchenko also mentioned a group of people who were caught while they selling weaponry to local civilians near the borders.

"Such facts have been few so far. Possibly, the measures taken in Belarus to enhance control of the border have put an effective brake on smuggling," Tishchenko added.

"On the Polish and Lithuanian borders we have registered no attempts at weapons smuggling. On the Ukrainian border the problem is now on the agenda. For the time being such cases are few, but they are a reality of the day," he said.

Belarus’ armed forces conducted a military exercise together with Belarusian territorial forces at the beginning of the week along the borders near Ukraine.

Some of the Belarusian media claimed that these military exercises near the border were conducted using the turmoil in Ukraine as an excuse to train military forces, or to help Russia to start a war.

On the other hand, according to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), more than 100,000 Ukrainians have been living in Belarus to avoiding turmoil and armed conflicts in Ukraine.

While conducting military exercises at Ukrainian border, Belarus gave messages about the importance of Russia in the region.

Belarusian defense minister Gen. Lt. Andrey Ravkov said that military cooperation with Russia is "an important element of ensuring security" of the country.

Belarus also reached an agreement with Russia on stationing missile systems in the country. The country also considered  building a Russian aviation station.

Both Ukraine and Belarus were part of the Soviet Union until the dissolution of the union in 1991.

Today, the two countries have a 891 kilometre border with each other. Belarus has an ambassador in the Ukrainian capital city Kiev, and Ukraine also has an embassy in Minsk.

Both countries agreed on an official border in 2009 with the former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych and Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko.

TRTWorld and agencies