03:23 GMT +319 July 2018
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    Belarus’ Top Brass Fired over Teddy Bear Bombing

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    Chief of the Belarusian Air Defense and Air Force, as well as the country’s top border guard were sacked on Tuesday by President Alexander Lukashenko.

    Chief of the Belarusian Air Defense and Air Force, as well as the country’s top border guard were sacked on Tuesday by President Alexander Lukashenko.

    Dmitry Pakhmelkin and Igor Rachkovsky lost their posts, but were not removed from the military, presidential press office said. Four more senior officials got away with formal reprimands.

    The sackings were a reaction to the incident earlier this month when a small plane invaded Belarusian airspace to parachute hundreds of teddy bears holding slogans lambasting Lukashenko’s authoritarian government for rights violations. The stunt was carried out by Swedish politically conscious PR firm Studio Total.

    Belarusian military officials earlier denied the incident, which was documented by photo footage.

    Lukashenko said earlier that the country’s air defense system tracked the plane, but did nothing to intercept it. He did not elaborate.

     

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