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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Belarus Border Guard Review Denounced as Political Ploy

MINSK -- Belarus's new administration has begun a crackdown on illegal immigration, but the head of the country's border guards assailed the move as misplaced revenge by the president.

President Alexander Lukashenko, who was elected last month as an anti-corruption crusader, created a commission Thursday to investigate border troops and identify the reason for increased illegal immigration. Officials said the measure was prompted by an incident last week in which 67 Vietnamese citizens dug their way into Polish territory through a tunnel crossing the Belarussian border.

General Yevgeny Bocharov, commander of border troops, said the commission was a pretext to sack him, prompted by an insider "war" between his troops and the Belarussian security service which controls them -- still known as the KGB. "This commission is nothing but part of the secret war which the KGB counter-intelligence has been waging against the border guards for three years," he said by telephone.

Marat Bushenko, an official in the president's administration, denied any political pretext for the commission.