The Belarusian Ministry of Defense said that Lithuania attempted to violate the airspace of the country.
According to the ministry, the "provocation" took place on August 23 at 19:30 in the village of Volkovshchina in the Ashmyany district, which borders Lithuania. "A cluster of eight balloons with anti-state symbols was launched from the adjacent territory," the statement reads.
Mi-24 helicopters from the air defense forces stopped the flight of balloons without the use of weapons, the Defense Ministry said.
The Belarusian Foreign Minisytry sent materials about the incident to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Belarus to prepare a note to Lithuania.
The Lithuanian Seimas did not recognize the official results of the presidential elections in Belarus, according to which the current head of state Alexander Lukashenko won with more than 80% of the votes. His rival Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, according to the Central Election Committee, received 10% of the votes. The opposition rejected the official results of the elections and said that it received 70 to 80% of the votes. Tikhanovskaya left for Lithuania.
Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda is convinced that Lukashenko cannot be considered a legitimate leader, as there were no free democratic elections in the republic. The Lithuanian Foreign Ministry proposed to ban the Belarusian leader from entering the country. Nauseda also stated that Lithuania, as well as Latvia and Poland are ready to be mediators in resolving the conflict between the Belarusian authorities and the residents of Belarus who do not agree with the results of the vote.
Lukashenko said he refuses to conduct dialogue under pressure. He also repeatedly said that the protests, which are held in Belarus from the main day of voting on August 9, are financed from abroad. According to Lukashenko, the situation in the country is developing according to the scenario of "color revolutions." On August 16, speaking at a rally in his support, he said that Western countries are increasing their military power on the borders of Belarus, and NATO troops are "rattling sabers at the gates." In response, the head of the Lithuanian Foreign Ministry called Lukashenko's words a lie, and he himself called the former president of Belarus. NATO assured that the alliance does not pose a threat to Belarus.
Nevertheless, on August 22, Lukashenko reiterated the "serious movement of NATO troops" near the borders of Belarus, Poland and Lithuania. In this regard, he decided to put the armed forces on full alert and ordered to respond without warning to the actions of those who violate the country’s borders.
On August 23, when another mass rally of the opposition was held in Minsk (independent Belarusian media estimated the number of its participants at more than 100 thousand people, and the state channel "Belarus 1" - 20 thousand), Lithuanians lined up in a "chain of solidarity" with the citizens of Belarus. It stretched from Vilnius to the village of Medininkai, located near the border with Belarus, 50,000 people took part in the action.