Sweden’s ambassador to Belarus was in for a big surprise – but it wasn’t a teddy bear’s picnic.
In the wake of a pro-democracy teddy drop from a Swedish plane in Belarussian airspace, Sweden’s Foreign Minister Carl Bildt claimed Belarus had expelled the Swedish ambassador, but Minsk saw it otherwise as its Foreign Ministry spokesman explained.
“Mr. Stefan Eriksson worked in Minsk for about 7 years. This is a long term. During all this time his activities were aimed not at the strengthening of relations between Belarus and Sweden but on their erosion. We are ready to make efforts to maintain the constructive nature of our relations. At the same time, if the Swedish side will seek to aggravate the situation, we will be forced to react adequately,” he said.
In retaliation, Bildt has said that Belarus’ incoming ambassador would not be welcome and two other diplomats have been asked to leave.
Meanwhile in Belarus, a blogger who posted photos of the bear drop on his own website is being held in Amerikanka prison and could face seven years in jail if found guilty.