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14 February 2020, 17:11

Belarus gets U.S. equipment for border protection in Polesie reserve

MINSK, 14 February (BelTA) – The Belarusian border service got modern equipment from the U.S. Department of Energy to secure border protection at the Polesie State Radiation and Environmental Reserve. The official ceremony to hand over the equipment took place at the Narovlya border post, BelTA learned from the State Border Committee of Belarus.

Taking part in the ceremony was First Deputy Chairman of the State Border Committee of Belarus Major-General Igor Butkevich and an official of the U.S. Department of Energy.

Since 2013, the U.S. Department of Energy has been providing international technical assistance to Belarus under the project to strengthen the potential in detecting, counteracting and stopping illegal turnover of radioactive materials at the state border of the Republic of Belarus. Under the project, the Belarusian border service receives radiation monitoring equipment for border checkpoints, mobile detection systems, and also technical servicing of the equipment. Trainings are also held for border guards.

Narovlya is the first post of the ‘green' border (part of the border between the checkpoints) that has been upgraded under the project. The post has been equipped with a remote monitoring system, specially equipped vehicles, thermal imaging cameras, binoculars, radiation control equipment, personal protective equipment, tools and equipment to protect the borders in areas that have been exposed to radiation pollution.

Igor Butkevich noted that the joint work with the U.S. colleagues helps significantly improve the effectiveness of the efforts to counter illegal trafficking of radioactive and nuclear materials on the Belarusian border and ensure security not only of Belarus but also of the region as a whole. Taking into account the conditions in the vicinity of the Polesie State Radiation and Environmental Reserve, namely the lack of electricity, instability of mobile communications, complex terrain and non-standard infrastructure, the technical solution to protect this site is unique and unparalleled. This project is a priority for the State Border Committee," he said. The project also allows minimizing the presence of border guards in the contaminated area.

After the official ceremony, the parties discussed further ties and expressed readiness to continue cooperation to strengthen the radiation control capacity at the border.

Photos courtesy of Belarus' State Border Committee

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