Belarusian autocratic leader Alexander Lukashenko said on Monday that the Belarusian military was on high alert, adding that four planes had been shot down in southern Russia.
Lukashenko, 68, surrendered to the former Soviet country’s Air Force Central Command, making his first public appearance after being missing for nearly a week, prompting reports that he was in poor health.
A. Lukashenka wore a military uniform, looked gloomy, with a bandage on his arm.
A. Lukashenka said that the increased readiness of the Belarusian forces was announced for three days after the incident in the southern region of Russia near the Ukrainian border. “Three days have passed since the events near our home, I mean in the Bryansk region, where four planes were shot down,” Lukashenko said, without giving further details. “We had to react,” he added.
On Saturday, images of several Russian planes crashing in the Bryansk region circulated on Russian social media. Video showed what appeared to be a clogged helicopter catching fire.
The Russian Defense Ministry did not comment, but Bryansk region governor Alexander Bogomaz said the helicopter crashed in the town of Klintsi. In a controversial statement, Vladimir Rogov, a Moscow-imposed official in the Russian-controlled part of Zaporizhia in southern Ukraine, said four Russian planes were shot down in the sky: two MI-8 helicopters, one SU-35 fighter and an SU-34 bomber.
Since 1994 leader Lukashenko was last seen in Moscow on Tuesday celebrating the Soviet victory over the Nazis.
He missed a lunch hosted by his ally President Vladimir Putin and several other events last week.
Source: The Delfi