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Belarus: Mobilise children to harvest potatoes and apples, says Lukashenko

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By Euronews  with AFP
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko attends the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit in Samarkand, Uzbekistan
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko attends the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit in Samarkand, Uzbekistan   -   Copyright  Credit: AP   -  

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has called for schoolchildren to be mobilised to harvest apples and potatoes.

Lukashenko said it was "savagery" that children could not be used to help with the country's agricultural industry.

"What kind of example are we going to set for our schoolchildren, our children?" he told a government meeting on Monday.

"They say it's exploitation, but what kind of exploitation is it if a person goes to work for five or six hours?"

"It will be happiness for the parents and good physical training for the children."

Schoolchildren and students were previously mobilised to help farmers harvest crops in the former Soviet Union (USSR).

The Belarusian president -- a former Soviet manager at a collective farm -- is known for his verbal outbursts and radical proposals.

In 2020, Lukashenko recommended that a daily glass of vodka and fieldwork on a tractor would help cure COVID-19.

The Belarusian President has also accused Ukraine of "provocations" by sending 15,000 troops to the border area to build defences and conduct reconnaissance.

Belarus allowed its ally Moscow to station troops in the country for its invasion in February but Lukashenko has said he was not planning a mobilisation of military forces to support Moscow.

The 68-year-old has ruled with an iron fist since 1994 and has faced unprecedented opposition protests since his disputed re-election in 2020.