Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko has ordered half of the country's army to enter combat preparedness in response to what he says are threats from the West, the Belta state news agency reports.
"(NATO) have launched exercises right by our borders. What am I supposed to do? I also rolled out some divisions, put half the army into combat preparedness mode. That's not cheap," Lukashenko was cited as saying.
Mass protests have taken place in the country since an election earlier this month that opponents say was rigged to give Lukashenko 80 per cent of the vote.