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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Lukashenko's Pledge

MINSK, Belarus -- Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko blamed businessmen on Tuesday for the death of his friend in an explosion and gave them a week to turn in the killers.

In comments broadcast on state television from the funeral of Yevgeny Mikolutsky, head of a regional committee given sweeping powers to control business, Lukashenko also warned business circles to pay their taxes in 10 days or be punished.

State radio said Monday the blast was a contract killing.

Mikolutsky, also a parliamentary deputy, headed the powerful State Control Committee in the eastern Mogilyev region where Lukashenko grew up and ran a farm until he moved into politics.