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You're reading: Belarus sacks foreign minister after teddy bear row
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Lukashenko’s office, which announced the dismissal of Sergei
Martynov, 59, who had held the post since 2003, did not provide
any reasons for the decision. Lukashenko named 54-year-old
Vladimir Makei, previously his chief-of-staff, as the country’s
new foreign minister.

Earlier this month, Belarus expelled Sweden’s ambassador
after a plane chartered by a Swedish public relations firm
dropped about 800 toy bears over the authoritarian country in
July, each carrying a message urging the former Soviet republic
to show greater respect for human rights.

Lukashenko sacked two generals, including the head of air
defence, and told the incoming border guards chief to use
weapons if necessary to shoot down any future foreign intruders
into Belarussian air space.

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