Belarus' Lukashenko says Putin promised to help if needed: Belta

FILE PHOTO: Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers a speech during a ceremony, which awards constructors of the Crimean Bridge over the Kerch Strait, in Sevastopol, Crimea March 18, 2020. Alexander Nemenov/Pool via REUTERS

MINSK (Reuters) - Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said on Saturday that Russian President Vladimir Putin promised him to help securing safety of Belarus if needed, the state news agency Belta reported.

In a series of reports by Belta, Lukashenko was also quoted as saying that Belarusian workers of state plants should be fired if they go on strike.

As the European Union is gearing up to impose new sanctions on Belarus in response to a bloody crackdown in which at least two protesters have been killed, Lukashenko also said he was concerned with the NATO military exercises being conducted in Poland and Lithuania, which he sees as an arms build-up.

Reporting by Andrei Makhovsky; Writing by Polina Devitt; Editing by Alison Williams