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Officials fired over teddy bear drop

Aug. 2, 2012 at 1:41 PM

MINSK, Belarus, Aug. 2 (UPI) -- Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko fired two top military officials over a foreign plane that entered Belarus and dropped hundreds of teddy bears.

Dmitry Pakhmelkin, the chief of Air Defense and Air Force, and Igor Rachkovsky, the head of the State Border Committee, lost their posts Tuesday, but were not removed from the military, for the incident last month, RIA Novosti reported.

In July, a small plane invaded Belarusian airspace and dropped hundreds of teddy bears holding anti-Lukashenko slogans over the country.

The stunt was carried out by Swedish advertisement agency Studio Total, RT reported.

Belarusian officials originally denied that teddy bear bombing happened, but after pictures and videos uploaded to the Internet, confirmed the incident on July 26.

Belarus, which has been governed by Lukashenko for the past 18 years, has been blasted for alleged human rights abuses in the country, including freedom of speech and the press.

Per Cromwell, the head of Studio Total said pulling the stunt was easy to do because information on Belarus' air defenses is freely available on the Internet.

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