Baltic defense ministers fear military escalation

The migrant crisis on the Polish-Belarusian border could escalate to involve the military, they said

editor: REMIX NEWS
author: Mandiner
In this photo taken from video released by Russian Defense Ministry Press Service, a long-range Tu-160 bomber of the Russian Aerospace Forces flies patrolling in the airspace of Belarus on Thursday, Nov. 11, 2021. Russia has sent two nuclear-capable strategic bombers on a training mission over Belarus in a show of Moscow's support for its ally amid a dispute over migration at the Polish border. Russia has supported Belarus amid a tense standoff this week as thousands of migrants gathered on the Belarus-Poland border in hopes of crossing into Europe. (Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP)

The defense ministers of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia warned on Thursday that the migration crisis at the European Union’s external eastern border would escalate.

“Large groups of people are being gathered and transported to the border area, where they are then forced to illegally cross the border. This increases the possibility of provocations and serious incidents that could also spill over into military domain,” wrote Estonian Minister of Defense Kalle Laanet, Latvian Minister of Defense Artis Pabriks and Lithuanian Minister of Defense Arvydas Anušauskas in a joint statement.

The defense ministers condemned “the deliberate escalation of the ongoing hybrid attack by the Belarussian regime.”
Laanet, Pabriks and Anusauskas further called on the EU member states for unity and solidarity.

They emphasized the need for the European Union to provide practical support to strengthen the protection of external borders. They also emphasized their readiness to support Poland in tackling the migration crisis on a bilateral basis.

Illegal immigrants, including women and children, have been arriving at the borders of EU member states bordering Belarus, Poland, Lithuania and Latvia for months.

Most of them have come from Iraqi Kurdistan, but also from Syria and African countries. The situation has become particularly serious since Monday, forcing Poland to deploy 15,000 troops to the area to support the border guards.

The European Union has accused Belarus of retaliating against Western sanctions by bringing migrants to the border.

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