EU, Nato chiefs pledge support for Lithuania over Belarus border crisis

Riga, Nov 28 (EFE).- The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, and the Secretary General of Nato, Jens Stoltenberg, on Sunday reiterated their support for Lithuania and other EU countries that share a border with Belarus.

European leaders have accused Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko of orchestrating the surge of migrants trying to get into the EU via Belarus in response to economic sanctions the bloc imposed after thousands of civilians were detained for protesting disputed presidential elections in August 2020.

Speaking at a press conference in Vilnius with Lithuanian president Gitanas Nauseda and prime minister Ingrida Simonyte, Von der Leyen expressed the EU’s “full solidarity with Lithuania, Latvia and Poland in these very challenging times.”

“Lukashenko has failed in his attempt to undermine EU unity and solidarity,” she stated.

For months, Lithuania has been facing a “deliberate, cynical and dangerous hybrid attack” organized by the Lukashenko regime that is putting the lives of innocent civilians at risk, to which the Baltic country has responded in a “humane and firm way,” she said.

She said the EU would continue to support Lithuania and that it would triple funds for border management in Lithuania, Latvia and Poland.

Von der Leyen added that to combat various forms of hybrid attack – disinformation, cyber-attacks or the current situation of “instrumentalization of human beings for political purposes” – the EU and Nato must work together.

Nato chief Jens Stoltenberg said: “the Lukashenko regime is exploiting vulnerable people to put pressure on neighboring countries. This is inhumane and cynical.”

He said that “no Nato ally is alone” and that “this crisis affects both Nato and the EU”.

Nauseda noted that there is no doubt that “the Lukashenko regime and the forces supporting it will continue to test with all possible means and tactics the unity of the Western world and its ability to respond and repel hybrid attacks in the form of illegal migration.”

Simonyte stressed the importance of remembering what the origin of this hybrid attack is: “the Belarusian people were deprived of their right to decide their own destiny and this is how the EU assessed the situation”. EFE


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