BBC World News: Generals sacking was fuelled by Moscow's indignation (Video)
14:25, — Politics
Lukashenka has sacked air force and border security chiefs because a Swedish plane managed to drop teddy bears into the country with calling for freedom.
Only last week did the official media admit that it had actually happened, reported BBC World News.
An official statement from Lukashenka's office on Tuesday said the Chairman of the State Border Committee, Maj Gen Igor Rachkovsky, and Air Defence Commander Maj Gen Dmitry Pakhmelkin had been dismissed for failing in their duties.
The plane, chartered by a Swedish public relations firm called Studio Total, dropped hundreds of the little teddy bears near the town of Ivenets and on the outskirts of the capital Minsk. It crossed into Belarusian air space from Lithuania.
The bears came down with little parachutes and had labels calling for freedom of speech and human rights.
Belarusian police have arrested two Belarusians suspected of aiding and abetting the Swedish stunt - journalism student Anton Suryapin and Sergei Basharimov, an estate agent. If found guilty they could face up to seven years in jail.
At a meeting with military commanders last week Lukashenka asked angrily "Why didn't the commanders intercept that flight?
"Who did they sympathise with? Was it bungling by particular officials or a failure in the state's air defence system?"
The state of Belarusian air defences has been widely discussed in local independent media, as well as in the Moscow press. Yet until last week the Belarusian state media referred only to an "invented" story about a Swedish air-drop.
Analysts say the president's anger was fuelled by Moscow's indignation, because Russia has helped develop the country's anti-aircraft defences. The former Soviet Union was embarrassed in 1987 when a German pilot, Matthias Rust, flew under the radar and landed a light plane in Red Square.
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