Updated at 14:52,24-02-2021

Lukashenko dismissed the head of State Border Committee and Air Defence Forces commander


Chairman of the State Border Committee Major-General Igor Raczkowski and Commander of the Air Force and Air Defence Forces Major General Dmitry Pahmelkin were dismissed for the improper execution of official duties on ensuring the national security of the Republic of Belarus.

This decision was taken by President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko, BelTA learned from the presidential press service.

Igor Raczkowski to be given at the command of State Border Committee, Dmitry Pahmelkin - at the defense minister command.

Defense Minister Lieutenant General Yuri Zhadobin, and Head of Armed Forces' General Headquarters - First Deputy Defense Minister Major General Peter Tikhonovski were warned about the incomplete official compliance.

In addition, the Secretary of State Security Council of Belarus Colonel-General Leonid Maltsev and the chairman of the State Security Committee, Lieutenant-General Vadim Zaitsev were reprimanded.

On July 4 Representatives of the Swedish PR agency Studio Total scattered from a single-engine aircraft over Ivyanets and Minsk's outskirts teddy bears with slogans in support of freedom and democracy in Belarus. Despite the video and photo footage of Teddy Bear Troopers's flight, the Ministry of Defense and the State Border Committee of Belarus declared, there were no violations at the border airspace. At the same time, a special commission of President of Belarus has reviewed all the formations and units of Air Defence Forces of the country.

Despite that the Swedish aircraft flight wasn't admitted, on July 13, photographer Anton Suryapin the first who published photos of teddy bears, was arrested. We also learned about the arrest of realtor Sergei Basharimov, who were going to rent an apartment to assault's organizers. Suryapin and Basharimov are still in the KGB jail and suspected of aiding a group of people in illegal border crossings. Probably, they've already charged.

Belarus' authorities officially recognized the fact of Swedish flight over Belarus only on July 26, when President Alexander Lukashenko said this at a meeting with the Armed Forces and the State Border Committee.

"How to explain the provocation with the light airplane, which not only crossed the border, but also invaded Belarus territory with impunity? As it's first and foremost - the safety of our citizens. Moreover, this plane was detected in time. Why chiefs haven't stopped the flight? Whom they take pity on? Is it blockheadedness of specific executors or the errors in the state's border guard system of airspace? I would like to hear answers to these question", said the head of state, and promised to punish the guilty and to take personnel decisions not earlier than on Monday, July 30.

As we see, the personnel decisions were made. However, it is still unknown, whether Anton Suryapin and Sergei Basharimov will be released from prison, or they are to become the main "scapegoats" of the Belarusian air defense system's fiasco.