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Poland, Lithuania discuss plans for complete closure of border with Belarus

04.08.2023 23:00
The Polish and Lithuanian interior ministers have discussed plans for a possible closure of all border crossings with Belarus in response to "emerging threats" from that country and potential "future provocations at the border," according to a statement on Friday.
Photo:PAP/Artur Reszko

Poland's Interior Minister Mariusz Kamiński and Lithuania's Agnė Bilotaitė spoke on the phone on Friday to discuss "the current situation on the border with Belarus" and a "mechanism of cooperation between Poland, Lithuania and other Baltic states," the Polish government said in a statement.

Image: Image: gov.pl

It added that Kamiński and Bilotaitė agreed a joint response to existing threats and any "future provocations" at the border, including a "mechanism that will be used in the event of the need to close all border crossings with Belarus."

Such a move would result in a further international "isolation of the Belarusian regime of Alexander Lukashenko," according to the statement.

During their talk, Kamiński and Bilotaitė "emphasized good and strong security cooperation between Poland and Lithuania," the Polish government also said.

Lithuania's Bilotaitė said in a social media post that she and Kamiński had "constructive dialogue" on the "security situation at the border with Belarus."

She added that "continuous information exchange and coordination" at the "operational and political levels" with Poland were "key for efficient regional decisions."

The Polish government this week decided to move additional troops and combat helicopters to the Belarusian border, following an incident in which two Belarusian helicopters breached Polish airspace during an air exercise in the area, according to officials.

Polish Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak said on Thursday that Poland was prepared and ready to ensure the security of NATO's eastern flank in response to the deployment of Russian mercenary troops in Belarus.

Earlier on Thursday, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda met in the northeastern Polish city of Suwałki, near Russia’s westernmost region of Kaliningrad, to discuss border security amid Russia's war in Ukraine and the deployment of Russian mercenary troops in Belarus.

The Polish prime minister told reporters on Thursday that Russia and Belarus were "stepping up their numerous provocations in order to destabilise the border of NATO's eastern flank."

The Polish prime minister said at the end of last month that Poland was guarding its border with Belarus "with full determination" against a threat from Wagner Group mercenaries stationed there.

Morawiecki said at the time that more than 100 Wagner fighters had moved to the Suwałki Corridor area on the Polish-Lithuanian border, which separates the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad on the Baltic Sea from Belarus.

Polish Deputy Interior Minister Błażej Poboży told public broadcaster Polish Radio on Friday that the latest estimates put the number of Wagner Group fighters stationed in Belarus at around 5,000.

Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022, launching the largest military campaign in Europe since World War II.

Friday was day 527 of Russia’s war on Ukraine.


Source: IAR, PAPgov.pl