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Belarus Says It Has Uncovered US Spy Network


Belarus's intelligence agency says it has uncovered a network of U.S. spies working in the ex-Soviet republic.

The intelligence agency, known by its Soviet-era initials KGB, made the claim Tuesday. The country's state-run television Sunday accused the U.S. Embassy in Minsk of recruiting spies in Belarus.

The move is the latest sign of crumbling diplomatic relations between the two countries.

Monday, the U.S. embassy announced that it is cutting its staff by nearly half as demanded by Belarusian authorities.

A U.S. State Department spokesman accused Belarus of choosing confrontation and isolation instead of engagement and democratic reform.

The tension between the two countries increased after Washington imposed sanctions last year on the state-run oil processing firm, Belneftekhim.

Earlier this month, U.S. Ambassador Karen Stewart left Belarus under what she said was pressure by the Belarusian government.

Last week, the U.S. embassy stopped issuing visas to Belarusians.

The U.S. has called Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko Europe's last dictator, and accused the country of violating free speech and human rights and rigging elections.

Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.

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