Embattled Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko said on Thursday that he will close the borders with Poland and Lithuania as he continues to talk up a military threat from the NATO countries.

Since huge protests against the stolen election of August 9 that saw the former collective farm manager returned to office after 26 years in power, Lukashenko has consistently claimed that the revolt is fuelled by the West.

“We are forced to withdraw troops from the streets, put the army on high alert, and close the state border on the West, primarily with Lithuania and Poland,” Lukashenko said. He did not include Latvia.

His remarks about pulling troops from the streets is interesting, because it has become very clear that he is holding on to power only due to the continuing support of the armed forces and a policy of violence, arrests and intimidation against opponents.

PHOTO: Lukashenko at a military parade Reuters