The Belarusian Foreign Ministry has ordered Lithuanian and Polish embassies in Minsk to cut their diplomatic staff, slamming Vilnius and Warsaw for supporting Belarusian opposition.
The Foreign Ministry’s press secretary Anatoly Glaz said that Lithuania and Poland were engaging in “destructive activity”.
“In view of the unambiguous destructive activity on the part of these countries, they were offered to bring the makeup of their diplomatic missions in Belarus to parity with the Belarusian foreign missions in these countries by October 9,” Glaz was quoted by Tut.by.
The Lithuanian embassy has been told to cut its diplomatic mission from 25 to 14 diplomats, while Poland’s diplomatic corps should go down from 50 to 18, Glaz said.
Moreover, Belarus is recalling its ambassadors from Vilnius and Warsaw for consultations, the press secretary added, and “the ambassadors of Poland and Lithuania in Belarus were accordingly invited to follow this example”.
Lithuania and the other two Baltic states have imposed sanctions on Belarusian officials responsible for crackdowns against opposition protesters and rigging the presidential election last August. The European Union decided to follow suit this week.
In response, the government of Alexander Lukashenko – whom most European countries have refused to recognise as the country’s legitimate leader – blacklisted 100 officials from each country.