MOSCOW (Reuters) -Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko inspected a tank battalion near the Lithuanian border and gave orders that any “provocation” there must be met with force, a Telegram channel close to his administration said on Tuesday.

“I will say publicly: any provocation must be stopped by military means,” Lukashenko, a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, was quoted as saying.

“Any violation of the state border is a shoot-to-kill.”

Lithuania, a European Union and NATO member that has offered support to Belarus’ opposition, has seen its relations with Minsk deteriorate sharply in recent years.

(Writing by Felix Light and Lucy Papachristou; Editing by Mark Trevelyan)

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