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.