The expulsion of the ambassador on August 3 was followed by Belarus expelling all Swedish diplomats in Minsk and announcing the closure of its embassy in Stockholm. Sweden has responded that the new ambassador from Belarus is not welcome and has withdrawn residence permits for two Belarusian diplomats.
While Belarus’s hardline president Alexander Lukashenko says the expulsion was because Swedish ambassador Stefan Eriksson was meeting with dissidents, it also followed the “teddy bear stunt” in which a Swedish advertising agency chartered a plane that flew into Belarus and dropped around 800 teddy bears carrying messages in support of human rights.
Lukashenko fired the head of his border control guards and the air force commander over the incident.
Belarus has been called the last dictatorship in Europe.
Belarusian embassy winds down services
According to the Belarusian Foreign Ministry, its embassy in Stockholm will stop taking applications for visas from next Monday, because of the impending closure of the mission, reports Russia's Interfax news agency.