Journalists 'fined' over Belarus teddy bear stunt

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Journalists 'fined' over Belarus teddy bear stunt

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The Belarus authorities have reportedly fined two journalists over last month’s pro-democracy stunt which saw teddy bears airdropped into the country.

Irina Kozlik and Yulia Doroshkevich have each been fined the equivalent of around 325 euros, says the Belarussian Association of Journalists.

The two young women had posed and taken photos of themselves with a teddy bear in solidarity with two Belarussians charged with complicity in the stunt.

Still smarting from the invasion orchestrated by a Swedish PR firm, President Lukashenko has accused the Swedish embassy of being involved.

Belarus has effectively expelled the Swedish ambassador in a growing diplomatic row.

Lukashenko also attacked Lithuania, where the plane flew from. It must say why it let its territory be used to violate a state border, he said.

The Belarussian leader sacked top generals after hundreds of teddy bears landed by parachute bearing messages calling for freedom of speech and human rights.

Lukashenko has told security chiefs to shoot down future intruders into the country’s airspace if necessary.

In 1995, a year after he took office, Belarus shot down a hot air balloon over its territory, killing two Americans.