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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Lukashenko Sacks Belarussian Military Chiefs

MINSK -- Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko has sacked most of the former Soviet republic's top military chiefs as part of an anti-corruption drive, aides said on Tuesday.


State Secretary Alexander Feduta said a presidential decree issued Monday had appointed Lieutenant-General Leonid Maltsev as army chief of staff, replacing Alexander Tushinsky.


Local newspapers said new generals were appointed to a number of other top posts.


"The changes are explained by the political situation, but do not signify any change in our foreign policy based on non-nuclear and neutral principles," Feduta said by telephone. "The clean-up in the defense ministry is not much different from those in other ministries."


Tushinsky, he said, could not remain in his post because he was under investigation in an anti-corruption campaign spearheaded by Lukashenko long before his election.


"Even rumors about corruption involving this or that official are being checked," Feduta said.


Lukashenko won a landslide victory last month after a campaign focusing heavily on pledges to root out corruption he said was endemic among top officials.


He also promised to align foreign and defense policy more closely to Russia and other former Soviet republics.