WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. government is aware of reports that Belarus has closed its border with neighboring Ukraine, a senior administration official said on Friday, vowing that Washington would continue to hold the government of President Alexander Lukashenko accountable for its actions.
“It appears the Lukashenko regime is once again seeking to deflect attention away from its campaign of repression against its people,” the official said. “We will continue to stand with the Belarusan people and hold the regime accountable.”
Lukashenko on Friday ordered the full closure of the country’s border with Ukraine, seeking to block what he called an inflow of weapons to coup-plotters detected by his security services, according to the BelTA state news agency.
Washington this week banned ticket sales for air travel to and from Belarus, acting after Minsk forced a Ryanair flight to land and arrested a dissident journalist aboard.
It was not immediately clear what further actions might be taken in response to Lukashenko’s harsh crackdown against months of pro-democracy protests over his alleged rigging of an August 2020 election. The longtime ruler denies election fraud.
(Reporting by Andrea Shalal, Editing by Rosalba O’Brien and Alistair Bell)